News In Brief

Following the decisive defeat in Taiwan's elections of the Nationalist Party, which has ruled the island for a half century, President-elect Chen Shui-bian made overtures to both mainland China and a politically divided electorate. For its part, Beijing, which before the vote had criticized heavily Chen's Democratic Progressive Party for its pro-independence stance, said it will wait and watch for Chen's next move. Meanwhile, an estimated 3,000 protesters surrounded the Nationalist Party headquarters, demanding that President Lee Teng-hui announce his resignation as chairman - which he did. And James Soong, who launched an independent campaign and placed second, said he would form his own party.

The Israeli Cabinet approved a handover of 6.1 percent of the West Bank to Palestinian control. The transfer is to take place tomorrow, when Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are to resume peace talks at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington.

An estimated 10,000 people marched in Kraljevo, Yugoslavia, to protest the governmental shutdown of the opposition-run local television station - the third such closure in the country in a week. Analysts said the moves likely were aimed at tightening President Slobodan Milosevic's grip on power ahead of local elections later this year, although the Telecommunications Ministry claimed the station was closed because it didn't have the proper license to broadcast.

Three members of the Japanese Red Army who were arrested in Tokyo after being deported from Lebanon were refusing to cooperate with investigating authorities, police said. Japan has long wanted to try the fugitives on charges of staging violent attacks around the world, including a shooting at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport in 1972 that killed two dozen people. Police refused to comment on the case of a fourth deportee, who was being held in detention. All of them had just finished three-year prison terms in Lebanon for illegally entering the country. Beirut did grant political asylum to still another Red Army member, Kozo Okamoto, who the Interior Ministry claimed had been tortured in Israeli jails because of his alleged operations against the Jewish state.

In what is believed to be the world's second-largest mass suicide in recent history, about 470 cult members in Kanungu, Uganda, apparently set their church on fire with them inside. The cult, the Movement for the Restoration of Ten Commandments of God, was regarded as peaceful, said a police spokesman in the capital, Kampala.

Parliament members of the ruling Nepali Congress party chose Girija Prasad Koirala to be the Himalayan kingdom's next prime minister - the fourth time he will have assumed that post. He is to succeed Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, who resigned last week following a rebellion by members of his governing party who blamed him for deteriorating law and order, poor administration, and continued attacks by Maoist insurgents. Nepal has had eight different governments during the past 10 years.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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