News In Brief

The process of determining who will hold which post in the first self-rule Cabinet in Northern Ireland was under way in Belfast. Members of the panel were to be drawn equally from Protestant and Catholics blocs in the 108-member Northern Ireland Assembly. But nominations were expected to be slowed because two Protestant candidates have been targets of Irish Republic Army assassination plots and have vowed never to sit in the same room with one of the likely Catholic nominees, Martin McGuinness, a reputed former IRA commander.

NATO peacekeepers arrived too late to stop an attack on two Kosovo Serb women and an elderly man by ethnic Albanians in Pristina, the capital. All three were beaten, and the man was shot dead before the assailants fled. The incident, another in a growing series of revenge attacks by Albanians, followed public celebrations of Kosovo's first Flag Day since the ouster of Serb forces loyal to Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

Defiant critics of Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat refused to back down from pressure as fallout from a petition urging a popular rebellion against his rule entered its second day. Arafat ordered more signers arrested, bringing to nine the number in custody or confined to their homes. His Fatah movement also called for an urgent meeting of the Palestinian Legislative Council to strip lawmakers who signed of their immunity from arrest. But one lawmaker drew cheers from West Bank students for calling Arafat and his Cabinet "corrupt people" and "a mafia." Above, Arafat supporters and opponents wrestle for a bullhorn to reply to the legislator.

Widespread irregularities were reported in the bitterly contested national election in Malaysia. But the ruling coalition of Prime Minister Malathir Mohamad held an early lead in vote-counting, and he appeared on track to win a fifth consecutive term. Opposition parties grouped around Malathir's jailed rival, Anwar Ibrahim, hoped to deny the prime minister the two-thirds majority in parliament needed to amend the Constitution. Election monitors said some polls had closed early, voter rolls were incomplete, and some ballots were stamped with serial numbers.

Candidates from the democracy movement in Hong Kong were losing heavily to pro-Beijing opponents in the first local-council elections since the territory reverted to Chinese control in July 1997. Although totals were incomplete, analysts said the outcome showed negative feelings toward China among residents were fading. The councils serve mainly an advisory role in municipal affairs. More important legislative elections are to be held next year.

Voters reversed the order of finish from the first round of presidential elections in Uruguay and elected ruling-party candidate Jorge Batlle over socialist challenger Tabare Vazquez in Sunday's runoff. Batlle took 51 percent of the vote to 44 percent for Vazquez. Batlle, a nephew of a former president, was making his fifth try for the office. Vazquez won the Oct. 31 first round, 39 to 32 percent.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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