News In Brief

The military chief of Pakistan is looking for a way to "restore constitutional democracy," an aide to the head of state said. Gen. Pervaiz Musharraf was conferring with President Rafiq Tarar and other senior political leaders on various options, the aide said. Meanwhile, however, soldiers evacuated and sealed off Parliament, took ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to an undisclosed location, arrested commanders who were close to him, and barred hundreds of his Muslim League members from leaving the country.

Global reaction to the US Senate's failure to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was mostly negative. Led by the European Union, Russia, China, and Japan, governments lined up to express dismay or to accuse the Senate of undermining world stability. India said it still was committed to signing the pact. But its nuclear rival, Pakistan, in the midst of a military coup, had no immediate reaction.

A buffer zone that would prevent further clashes between Indonesian forces and the multinational intervention troops in East Timor was proposed by the latter's commander. Relations between them have been severely strained since a gunfight last weekend that, Indonesia claims, killed one of its policemen. But Australian Maj. Gen. Peter Cosgrove, the intervention force leader, disputed reports that at least 150 anti-independence militiamen had infiltrated secretly back into East Timor from the island's western sector with plans to conduct a guerrilla campaign against his troops.

Hints that this year's Nobel Peace Prize may be awarded to one or more Chinese political dissidents brought angry denunciations from the communist government in Beijing. Among the nominees for the prize, whose winner is to be announced today in Oslo, are Wei Jingsheng and Wang Dan. They were expelled in 1997 and 1998, respectively, after serving long prison terms for their activities, and a Foreign Ministry spokesman said it would be "a mockery" if they won the prize.

Conscript soldiers are abusing hard drugs deliberately to provoke their commanders into kicking them out of Russia's armed forces, a new report said. The military newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda said the registered cases of soldiers selling or using narcotics such as heroin more than tripled - to 605 - last year from 1996 totals. It said some unit commanders were undermining crackdown programs by their failure to cooperate or, in one case, peddling heroin to his own men. Morale and conditions in the military have deteriorated since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Julius Nyerere, who died in London, led Tanzania to independence from Britain in 1961 and served as its president for 23 years. His goal of ending white minority rule in Africa, inspired numerous other liberation movements, notably in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. But his experiment in socialist economics left Tanzania one of the world's poorest nations, and he stepped down in 1985. In retirement, he mediated numerous political crises on the continent.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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