News In Brief
Beginning Saturday, an additional 1.7 million barrels a day of crude oil are scheduled to be brought to market by OPEC after the cartel finally agreed to increase production. The hike, announced following two days of meetings in Vienna by Secretary-General Rilwanu Lukman of Nigeria, caused prices to dip below the key $25 a barrel level for May deliveries in trading on the London market. It reverses the year-long cut implemented last March by cartel members to boost revenues. Iran, a "price hawk," did not agree to the increase but said it would cooperate anyway so as "not to lose market share."
Relations between China and the US are at "an important, if not critical, juncture," officials in Beijing told visiting National Security Adviser Samuel Berger. Berger was sent to appeal for Chinese restraint following the election in Taiwan of a new president associated with the island's independence movement. But his hosts demanded that the US abide by President Clinton's June 1998 statement supporting the Beijing government's "one China" policy.
Investigators were asking how the murders of 81 people in a small Uganda town could go unnoticed after workers finished recovering their remains from a mass grave. The grave, under the former house of a doomsday sect leader, was discovered Tuesday - the third of its type so far. More than 800 followers of the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God now have been found dead after what initially appeared to be a suicide fire at one of the group's compounds March 17. Five other sect properties have yet to be searched, police said.
Signs were pointing to a probable defeat in Turkey's parliament for a controversial measure that would allow President Suleyman Demirel to seek reelection. The bill would reform the Constitution, cutting the president's term from seven years to five in return for permitting a reelection bid. But lawmakers voted by only 303 to 202 to continue debate, well short of the 367 needed to rewrite the charter. Demirel's term expires in May, but he's seen as a stabilizing figure in a nation that recently won a badly needed $4 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund.
For the third straight day, violence shook Haiti's capital as protesters ratcheted up the pressure on the national elections council to resign. Four people have died; four others were arrested. The government appealed for calm by activists claiming to be followers of ex-President Jean Bertrand Aristide, who, opposition leaders say, want to delay the voting for a new parliament until December. Under that scenario, Aristide allies could win control of the assembly because the election would coincide with that for president. The council twice has postponed the balloting; it now is scheduled to begin April 9.
A sellout crowd of 55,000 Japanese watched the Chicago Cubs beat the New York Mets, 5-3, in the first Major League Baseball game played outside North America. The game, in the Tokyo Dome, also was the earliest regular-season opener in history for US teams.
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