News In Brief

Yugoslavian state TV was back on the air in Belgrade late yesterday after NATO jets knocked out its transmitter for the second time since Friday. Alliance leaders said the station was being targeted because it's a propaganda organ that is responsible for prolonging the war.

A national election that few of India's people are believed to want seemed nearer after the latest attempts to cobble together a weak coalition government failed. President K.R. Narayanan was meeting with caretaker Prime Minister Vajpayee as the Monitor went to press, with analysts saying he could either offer one last attempt to form a government or urge Parliament to cut across party lines and choose a viable leader. A new election would be India's third in as many years.

A silent gathering of perhaps 10,000 Chinese - the largest demonstration in a decade - stood outside government headquarters in Beijing to seek an audience with Premier Zhu Rongji. They were lobbying for legal protection of a tradition that mixes meditation, martial arts, and condemnation of such influences as TV, rock and roll, and homosexuality. Fa Lung Gong, according to government estimates, has tens of millions of adherents but is controversial because its leader now lives and lectures in the US.

Eleven million people were eligible to vote in a referendum yesterday on whether Venezuela's Constitution should be rewritten, and new President Hugo Chvez was calling for an overwhelming victory. With his approval rating above 80 percent in opinion polls, analysts said they expected the proposal to pass. But they were skeptical that a new charter would do much to address the nation's deep political problems. The Constitution has been rewritten 24 times since 1811.

A neo-Nazi group claimed responsibility for the second bomb explosion in a week in London. Seven people were hurt in the blast Saturday in an East End Bangladeshi neighborhood. At the same hour the Saturday before, the first explosion injured 39 people in racially mixed south London. In both cases, casualties might have been more numerous if alert residents hadn't spotted suspicious sports bags containing the bombs before they went off, police said. Minority communities throughout Britain were warned to watch for similar attacks.

Rebel leaders from Sierra Leone worried that long-awaited consultations with commander Foday Sankoh were being undercut by a new offensive against their positions, which could force an early return home. The meetings, in neighboring Togo, were made possible when Sankoh was released from prison to help draw up the rebels' negotiating position for peace talks with the government of President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. Sierra Leone's civil war has wrecked the economy and killed thousands of people.

An overloaded truck failed to climb a steep grade in southern Mexico and slid off a rural road, killing 45 people, most of them children. Eleven others survived. The truck was returning from a government medical clinic near the Guatemalan border where the children had received free vaccinations.

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