News In Brief

Another white farmer died at the hands of squatters who invaded his land in Zimbabwe, the second since Saturday. But in a National Day TV address, President Robert Mugabe again failed to condemn the violence linked to his black supporters, instead blaming ex-colonial power Britain for many of Zimbabwe's problems. He did, however, express regret for deaths caused by two months of farm seizures by armed squatters. Mugabe said Britain's Labour government has reneged on promises made to Zimbabwe by its Conservative Party predecessor.

Even the reduced package of military sales to Taiwan by the Clinton administration "furthers the arrogance" of the island's independence movement and damages US-Chinese relations, the Beijing government said. But, in what analysts called a low-key response to the sale, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said his government had "taken note" of reports that the deal wouldn't include four $1 billion Aegis-class destroyers. Taiwan-ese officials would not comment directly, saying only that such purchases are for defense and "have nothing to do with an arms race with the mainland."

A senior court is to decide today whether to honor the appeal by Pakistan's military junta of the life sentence imposed on ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He was found guilty April 6 of airline hijacking and terrorism, but was spared the death penalty. Six codefendants were acquitted. In its appeal, the junta demanded Sharif be executed and protested the not-guilty verdicts. Sharif also is appealing his conviction.

In a speech to parliament today, Italy's prime minister is expected to insist that his resignation is irrevocable. Massimo D'Alema tried to quit Monday after opposition rightists routed his left-of-center coalition in regional elections. But President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi rejected the offer. Treasury Minister Giuliano Amato and Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini, both of whom held the office briefly in the past decade, were seen as likely successors to D'Alema.

Despite months of financial scandal, Germany's opposition Christian Democratic Union has made a powerful comeback in public opinion since confirming its first woman leader, a new poll found. A Forsa Institute survey of 2,512 people put the CDU just three percentage points behind the ruling Social Democrats, 38 to 41, and suggested its new chief, Angela Merkel, could win a hypothetical head-to-head contest against Chancellor Gerhard Schrder. The admission late last year that longtime CDU Chancellor Helmut Kohl had accepted secret campaign gifts on behalf of the party and the subsequent resignations of party elders plunged its approval rating deep into the 20 percent range.

Battles in the streets between police and an estimated 10,000 protesters disrupted Moldova's capital for a second straight day. There were no immediate reports of injuries in Chisinau, but police were seen swinging batons after protesters threw rocks at the presidential palace and parliament. The violence erupted Monday when students, complaining about a new law obliging them to pay for public transportation, grew angry at the refusal of government officials to discuss their grievance.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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