News In Brief

The deadline for serb Army and police units to withdraw from Kosovo was extended to midnight Sunday, local time, by NATO because of congestion on the roads. As those forces were leaving, they were joined by Serb civilians, with one Kosovo political leader saying as many as 80,000 had headed for sanctuary in Serbia proper with all the belongings they could carry - despite appeals by their religious leaders to stay.

Into the vacuum left by the departing Serbs flowed increasing numbers of returning ethnic Albanians, as UN officials realized they were powerless to stop the influx. But as the refugees returned, NATO peacekeepers discovered new evidence of atrocities in their former villages. In ta village near Pristina, the remains of Albanians were found both in recently dug pits and in water wells. Meanwhile, American troops met with revenge-minded Kosovo Liberation Army fighters who wanted to enter a town in search of remaining Serbs.

Russia's delegates to a meeting on Kosovo with Secretary of Defense Cohen and Secretary of State Albright were prepared to compromise in the search for an appropriate role in peacekeeping, a spokesman said. But the Russians wouldn't back down from a demand for their own sector there, he said. Meanwhile, the second Russian reinforcement convoy in two days reportedly was heading for Kosovo's main airport - despite a promise not to send additional troops until after reaching agreement with NATO on peacekeeping operations. The alliance said it wasn't aware of the convoy.

The new and departing presidents of South Africa raised their joined hands in a victory salute at inauguration ceremonies in Pretoria. In accepting the government reins from retiring Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki vowed to shift his focus from black-white reconciliation toward making good on pledges of a better life for millions of blacks still impoverished after decades of apartheid.

Thirty-three hostages, held captive for more than two weeks by leftist guerrillas in Colombia, were turned over to a commission of international observers. But at least 20 others taken captive at a church service in Cal May 30 still were being held at an undisclosed location. Leftist rebels also continue to hold 24 passengers from a hijacked airliner they forced down in the jungle April 12.

Effective immediately, TV networks in Japan will stop broadcasting shows with heavy sex and violence themes between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., their trade association announced. Children up to the age of 12 account for more than 10 percent of the TV audience during those hours. Debate in Japan on the influence of television in inciting violent behavior among children has intensified in the wake of school shootings in the US.

A state of emergency was declared on the South Pacific island of Guadalcanal, where at least three people died in ethnic violence. The trouble erupted over militants' demands that squatters from elsewhere in the Solomons chain be forced back to their own islands. As many as 5,000 squatters have sought shelter in the capital, Honiara.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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