News In Brief

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak reversed a decision to hand over a West Bank suburb bordering Jerusalem to full Palestinian control as part of a troop redeployment. The original plan had elicited heavy criticism from hard-liners and some members of Barak's coalition, who said such control over Anata would give Palestinian President Yasser Arafat a foothold in his campaign to make eastern Jerusalem the Palestinian capital. The status of the city is one of the issues to be addressed in a final peace treaty due Sept. 13.

Serbia's opposition-controlled Studio B television station paid $1 million to the government of President Slobodan Milosevic to prevent being closed down. Several nongovernment radio and TV stations have been closed in the past few weeks. Analysts have said such moves are an attempt to tighten control ahead of municipal elections later this year.

Share prices in Taiwan rallied from Monday's unprecedented 617-point drop, which opposition presidential candidate Chen Shui-bian alleged was inspired by the ruling Nationalist Party to garner support for their contender, Lien Chan, in the tight three-way election race. The Weighted Index closed up 23.63 points after four government-linked funds bought heavily to calm the market. The mainland Chinese government, meanwhile, dismissed Saturday's closely watched elections as a "local vote," but said "if Taiwan independence arises, we will not sit idly by."

A Chinese dissident poet who tried to set up a movement to free writers of ideological controls by the Communist Party has been sentenced to five years in prison for subversion, a human rights group reported. The Hong Kong-based Information Center of Human Rights in China said the verdict against Ma Zhe was announced March 1, more than two years after police detained him. Ma previously served three years for a leading role in a 1986 movement at Beijing University, which preceded the 1989 pro-democracy movement that was crushed by China's military.

Ousted Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told a judge his lawyers would resume defending him and would drop a demand to shift his trial out of Karachi. The lawyers had boycotted two court sessions after one of their colleagues, Iqbal Raad, was murdered last Friday in his office in the port city. Sharif, his younger brother, and five others have been charged by Pakistan's military regime with hijacking and other offensives stemming from the Oct. 12 coup against the elected government.

A former Malaysian police chief was convicted of assaulting ex-Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim two years ago in a police cell. Abdul Rahim Noor, who resigned his post afterward, pleaded guilty after prosecutors agreed to a lesser charge. The case has drawn attention because it's the first time in Malaysia - where police have broad powers - that a chief has been forced to quit or be charged in court with abuse.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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