News In Brief

After nearly two months of deadlock, Israel and Palestinians agreed on an Israeli pullback from 5 percent of the West Bank. The withdrawal is scheduled for Jan. 6, the eve of the last day of Ramadan. The two sides have until Feb. 13 to hammer out the framework of a final peace treaty.

In fresh clashes between Islamic militants and the Lebanese army, at least 19 people were killed. Fighting has continued for four days in the north, the most violent clashes since Lebanon's 1975-90 civil war. The latest incident occurred when soldiers ambushed the Kfar Hibbou hideout of guerrillas from the Tafkir and Hijrah groups.

Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee asked the US and other Western states to condemn Pakistan as a terrorist nation. Following the recent hijacking of an Indian Airlines flight and Monday's land-mine attack against Indian forces in Kashmir, Vajpayee said Pakistan's role in "fomenting terrorism in India is now too obvious to be overlooked by the international community." Pakistan's involvement in these incidents has not been confirmed.

Officially stating that everything indicated "that they were preparing an imminent attack," Spanish officials arrested three suspected members of the separatist group ETA (Basque Homeland and Freedom) on Jan. 3. Some 800 people have reportedly been killed since ETA mounted its campaign for an independent state in 1968.

Following five days of bloodshed between Christians and Muslims in Indonesia's Spice Islands, police began investigating allegations of the Dec. 27 massacre of 200 Muslims in Halmahera village. About 1,300 people have died in the area's two provinces since religious fighting first erupted a year ago. Above, an Ambonese Muslim protester demands that the Indonesian government take immediate action to prevent more violence.

With a 76 percent turnout at Croatian polls for parliament, the opposition coalition of Social Democrats and Social Liberals won a landslide victory against the HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union). The vote ended a decade of rule by the party of deceased President Franjo Tudjman.

At least three people were killed and several injured when two passenger trains crashed head-on in southern Norway. The collision, outside the town of Rena (110 miles north of Oslo), left one of the cars on fire and one locomotive overturned.

In the wake of last week's deadly storms, France's Culture Ministry placed an estimate on repairing damaged monuments like Notre-Dame Cathedral and Versailles at $83.3 million.

Following his recent announcement that he would seek a controversial third term as leader of Peru, President Alberto Fujimori will face more than the opposition of Peruvian protesters. In April's elections, his ex-wife, Susana Higuchi, plans to campaign on an anti-corruption forum.

Three children were killed when gunmen attacked a group of French tourists in Rundu, Namibia. In recent months Angola's civil war has crept into Namibia. A Namibian policeman accused Angolan UNITA rebels in the attack, a charge the guerrillas denied.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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