News In Brief

Only by restoring the province's suspended government can a breakthrough in the Northern Ireland peace process occur, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said. Adams was to meet British Prime Minister Tony Blair in London a day after his ally, the Irish Republican Army, announced it would stop meeting with the province's independent disarmament commission and pull its latest proposal off the table. The IRA suggested late last week it would be willing - under certain circumstances - to put its weapons stockpile "beyond use." But the proposal came too late to stop Britain from stripping the Protestant-Catholic coalition government of its powers.

The embattled leader of Germany's main opposition party announced he'll quit his post. Wolfgang Schuble of the Christian Democratic Union also said he won't seek reelection as CDU leader in parliament. The CDU has plummeted in opinion polls since its honorary chairman, ex-Chancellor Helmut Kohl, admitted in late December that he was involved in a financial scandal. Schuble's announcement followed by one day a $20.6 million fine against the CDU imposed by parliament.

Claiming they have leaked copies of Augusto Pinochet's medical evaluation, two newspapers reported that the former Chilean dictator is affected by memory loss and other mental deficiencies. The report by a British medical team was ordered released to the plaintiffs in a legal battle to spring Pinochet from custody in London so Spanish prosecutors can put him on trial for human rights abuses during his years in power. The British government used the report to rule Pinochet unfit for trial.

Senior advisers to Zimbabwe's president were summoned to an emergency meeting tomorrow in the wake of the worst political defeat of his long rule. Last weekend's vote on a proposed new constitution that would have given Robert Mugabe even greater powers attracted a low turnout in his traditional rural stronghold, where it passed by a narrow margin that was easily overcome in the cities. Analysts said Mugabe now might postpone crucial elections for parliament, scheduled for April, until as late as October.

Under threat of an international war-crimes tribunal, Indonesia's government vowed to open its own trials of six Army generals implicated in East Timor atrocities "in three months." UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in a meeting with President Abdurrahman Wahid, said calls for such a tribunal were certain to recur if Indonesia failed to punish those responsible for last year's violence in the former province. General Wiranto, the ex-armed forces chief and now suspended from Wahid's Cabinet, is one of the six.

Another senior UN aid official in Iraq quit, saying what is happening there "is a true human tragedy." Jutta Burghardt, chief of the World Food Program in Iraq, followed Hans von Sponeck in leaving her job rather than continue to watch the suffering of ordinary Iraqis because of years of UN economic sanctions. Von Sponeck led the UN's humanitarian mission.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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