News In Brief

With security forces standing by, anti-independence militiamen went on a rampage in the capital of East Timor, as vote-counting began in the wake of Monday's referendum on autonomy. At least one person was killed, "several" others were hurt, and two buildings were set on fire. Militiamen also reportedly shot at UN personnel, tried to firebomb their compound, and conducted house-to-house searches for supporters of independence from Indonesia. The rioting began as a clash with supporters of separatism returning from a funeral. In Jakarta, authorities said 360 specially trained policemen would be rushed to the scene to prevent further violence.

Hopes that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators could agree on terms for implementing their land-for-peace deal in time for a signing ceremony in front of Secretary of State Albright tomorrow were dimmed by a last-minute snag. But the dispute - over the number of Palestinian prisoners to be freed from Israeli jails - did not appear to put the talks in crisis. Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat said, as the Monitor went to press, he hoped for a breakthrough "in the next few hours." The Wye Plantation accord has remained stalled since the two sides reached it last October.

Only at the last minute will members of Venezuela's newly closed Congress reveal where they'll try to defy an order banning them from meeting again, organizers said. They spoke after the country's Constitutional Assembly, packed with supporters of President Hugo Chvez, stripped them of all powers and duties. The assembly insists that new institutions will emerge in about six months following the rewriting of the Constitution.

Barricades that formerly kept Serb and ethnic-Albanian children apart were gone as public schools in Kosovo's capital opened for the first time since NATO bombing attacks began in late March. But with thousands of Serbs having fled the province, the Albanians had the schools mostly to themselves. In areas where Serb children remain, plans called for them to attend half of each day, while Albanians took the other half.

Execution by firing squad was proposed by angry Moscow mayor and presumed Russian presidential-candidate Yuri Luzhkov for the perpetrators of an underground shopping-mall bombing that injured 41 people, some of them seriously. A group calling itself the "union of revolutionary writers" claimed responsibility for the attack, which it said was aimed at the "false sun" of consumerism. The mall is a centerpiece of Luzhkov's efforts to renovate key areas of the capital.

Golfers abandoned their game and raced to help passengers and crew members aboard a domestic passenger jet that crashed next to a course in Buenos Aires. At least 69 people - some of them in the path of the plane as it hit the ground - were killed and more than 30 others were hurt. It had taken off moments before, en route to the northern Argentine city of Cordoba. The cause of the accident was not immediately known.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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