News In Brief
The sale of missiles and radar equipment by the US to Taiwan is a "serious error" and should be canceled "immediately," China's Foreign Ministry said. With Taiwan's presidential election scheduled for next week - and with China threatening attack if the island pursues independence - a Beijing government spokesman said the planned sale constitutes a "severe encroachment on China's sovereignty." He also hinted that China might not implement last year's deal opening its markets to the US if permanent low-tariff trading rights were not granted "once and for all."
Heavy new rains fell on Mozambique, once again hampering relief efforts and soaking hundreds of thousands of displaced people in emergency camps. And ordnance experts warned that three weeks of flooding may have dislodged land mines from the nation's 16-year civil war. Even if that's not the case, they said, "danger" signs marking the known locations of the mines may have been washed away. As many as 3 million mines remain, they estimated.
All consumer goods, even fruit juice, were being confiscated from private cars as Serb authorities tightened the already tense economic blockade of Montenegro, their junior partner in the Yugoslav federation. Without elaborating, President Milo Djukanovich said he'd received assurances from Secretary of State Madeleine Albright that the West would help Montenegro defend itself "in the event of possible aggression." He said the small republic was in no hurry to secede from Yugoslavia but would "continue on that road alone" if it could not achieve equal status with far-larger Serbia in the federation.
Every opinion poll was showing a probable victory Sunday for Prime Minister Jos Maria Aznar in Spain's national election. But Aznar, a centrist bidding for a second four-year term, is opposed by what political observers were calling a formidable challenge by a Socialist-Communist Party alliance, the first of its kind since the bitter civil war of the 1930s. The election also comes amid a renewed campaign of violence by ETA, the Basque separatist group. Aznar survived an ETA assassination attempt in 1995.
There is no evidence to support the claim that a spy in NATO ranks leaked secret advance information on last year's alliance bombing of Serbian targets to the Yugoslav government, senior officials said. The issue arose as the BBC released details of a TV documentary to be broadcast in Britain Sunday. The program reportedly says the spy's work allowed Serb forces and equipment to be redeployed in advance of NATO airstrikes, lessening the risk of major damage.
The critical vote for new members of parliament in Haiti was reset for April 9, the country's elections commission said. The long-delayed balloting, originally to have been held last November, was postponed for the third time last week, reportedly because of problems in registering eligible voters. But with international donors footing much of the cost of the election, the UN appealed to Haitian authorities to set and abide by a new date "as closely as possible."
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