News In Brief

New hints that the volatile region of Chechnya would be cut into two were dropped by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. He announced the OK of a plan to resettle tens of thousands of refugees from Russian attacks on Chechnya in areas under the control of Kremlin forces - the region's low-lying northern section. The announcement suggested that the incursion into Chechnya would stop short of the mountainous south, where armed Islamic militants are believed to be hiding. While the Russians have not yet had a major engagement with the militants, they reported their first casualties - two dead and seven wounded - after a skirmish Sunday.

A tense standoff developed between the multinational intervention force in East Timor and armed militiamen of the pro-independence Falintil movement. The force, under heavy criticism for aleged bias toward Falintil, demanded its members turn in their weapons. But one local Falintil leader refused to order his men to do so, in a confrontation that reportedly verged on violence. From Portugal, where he was traveling, independence leader Xanana Gusmao said his rebels wouldn't disarm because they never were "involved in acts of terrorism."

The driver of a truck that collided with charismatic Yugoslav opposition leader Vuk Draskovic's motorcade has been found by police, a lawyer for the politician said. The accident Sunday 35 miles south of Belgrade injured Draskovic and killed everyone else in his party. Draskovic called it an assassination attempt. He was fired as deputy prime minister in President Slobodan Milosevic's government in April, but so far has refused to swing his Serbian Renewal Movement behind daily anti-Milosevic street rallies, calling them a waste of time.

Asking for the forgiveness of their surviving victims, the rival rebel leaders whose civil war against the government of Sierra Leone left the nation broke, arrived home. Foday Sankoh (in white) and Johnny Paul Koroma had been meeting in neighboring Liberia to iron out differences over the July 5 peace deal with President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah. It ends eight years of strife in which thousands of people died and thousands of others were maimed by the rebels. The accord gives vice presidential rank to Sankoh but leaves Koroma with no defined role.

Within a week, all nuclear-power facilities in Japan will be inspected for safety following the serious accident at a uranium-processing plant 70 miles from Tokyo, officials said. The announcement came amid fierce public criticism of lax supervision in the nuclear-power industry, which supplies 37 percent of Japan's electricity. A newly released survey found 74 percent of respondents "critical" or "cautious" of the industry after the latest in a series of mishaps. Japan plans to build 20 more reactors by 2010.

The largest Jewish cemetery in Europe, a memorial to victims of the Holocaust, was heavily vandalized, police said. They said caretakers at the Weissen-see facility in Berlin found 103 gravestones overturned. Suspicion fell on neo-Nazi groups, some of whom are fielding candidates for the Berlin legislature in Sunday's election.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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