News In Brief

"People are not slamming the the door," but it will be at least autumn before any new political progress can be made in the Northern Ireland peace process, an aide to British Prime Minister Blair said. Blair's government and its counterpart in the Irish Republic were to undertake "a formal review" of last year's Good Friday accords after their failure to persuade the Protestant Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) to join in a self-rule administration with Sinn Fein, the political ally of the Irish Republican Army. UUP members voted to boycott the new entity until the IRA surrenders its weapons. Above, UUP leader and Northern Ireland's First Minister-designate, David Trimble, explains the vote to reporters.

The man who would be deputy leader of the self-rule government announced his resignation. Seamus Mallon of the Social Democratic and Labour Party, the largest Catholic political group in Northern Ireland, said it was necessary to step down while the peace-deal review was under way. He called on Trimble to do the same.

In its most aggressive rhetoric yet, China vowed to use military force against Taiwan if the latter's President Lee Teng Hui declared independence for the island. And, without offering details, the Beijing government announced its scientists had "mastered the technology" to design neutron bombs. Meanwhile, in Taipei, Lee sought to reassure visiting US officials that he's not seeking the formal independence that might prod China to go to war.

For the first time in a week, streets in the university district of Iran's capital were quiet as security forces reasserted control. They also vowed to hunt down organizers of the violent protests that shook the hard-line clerical leadership. The protests were sparked by passage of tough new press guidelines, the closure of a popular reformist newspaper, and the arrest of one of its editors. Meanwhile, hard-liners were demanding the resignation of the government's interior minister for his failure to stop the protests.

Five weeks late, vote-counting in Indonesia's June 7 national election finally ended. But officials said the results would not be announced officially until tomorrow. Privately, however, they confirmed that the Democratic Party for Struggle of opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri had won 35 percent of the vote to about 20 percent for the ruling Golkar Party, setting up a race between them to form a coalition government.

For the second time in four months, violent protests forced Ecuador's leader to roll back a price increase aimed at generating some of the revenues needed to rebuild the crisis-ridden economy. President Jamil Mahuad reimposed a 60-day state of emergency, but said he'd decided to keep gasoline prices at June levels. In 10 days of protests and strikes, 12 people were shot, 395 were arrested, and almost 100 taxis used as roadblocks were confiscated. Similar confrontations occurred in mid-March.

Saying, "We do not need to be forgiven by him," the main rebel group seeking to topple Congo President Laurent Kabila rejected his offer of amnesty. The Congolese Rally for Democracy also accused Kabila's forces of failing to abide by its own cease-fire deal signed last weekend.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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