News In Brief

There will be no more violence on white-owned farms in Zimbabwe, leaders of armed blacks who have been seizing them pledged. But they said they would not yield back the land because it was rightfully theirs, and the remains of a black farm foreman missing since last weekend were found by searchers. Moreover, whites said police had done nothing to stop beatings of their laborers on farms in two areas east of the capital, Harare. And two white women alleged they had been raped by a gang invading their farm. Meanwhile, busloads of blacks were reported en route to other regions of the country previously unaffected by the takeovers, prompting concerns that more were likely this weekend.

A meeting of regional leaders on the farm seizures is scheduled for today at the Victoria Falls resort area. But a spokes-man for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said it would take place only after a session on the civil war in Congo, to which some of the participating governments send support troops. Mugabe said the farm-takeover crisis did not require UN intervention and that "there is peace generally in the country."

Armed protesters, identified by name, are prepared to try to stop US authorities from reuniting Elian Gonzalez with his father, the Cuban government alleged in a formal note to the State Department in Washington. The note, unconfirmed by department officials, reportedly says the "permanent presence" of the gunmen opposite the home of Elian's Miami relatives is evidence of a "grave risk" to the child's life. The note was timed for the anniversary of the defeat by Cuban troops in 1961 at the Bay of Pigs of an invasion by anticommunist exiles from the US.

An Easter message by the Irish Republican Army was being scrutinized for signs of new movement on the issue of surrendering weapons to further the peace in Northern Ireland. But although the organization again pledged support for "a permanent peace in our country," it blamed the British government for upsetting the 1998 Good Friday accord with Protestants, gave no hint that it would ever disarm, and indicated that its cease-fire, in place since 1997, was all it would offer. Britain suspended the North's self-rule coalition administration in February on grounds that the IRA had failed to give up its weapons.

A military court opened the trial of 28 Arabs in Jordan accused of ties to anti-US militant Osama bin Laden and of a plot to attack Americans and Israelis at popular tourist sites during the past New Year's celebrations. Thirteen of the group are at large and are being tried in absentia. Most of the rest refused to enter pleas or to accept court-appointed lawyers. If convicted, they could be sentenced to death.

Tomorrow's runoff election for president of the self-declared Turkish Cypriot republic was avoided when incumbent Rauf Denktash's opponent suddenly withdrew from the race. Denktash, who has ruled the region since it broke away from Greece in 1983, is to be sworn in Monday, exactly one month before UN-sponsored negotiations on reuniting the island open in New York. Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu had held Denktash to 44 percent of the vote in the first round of balloting. He gave no reason for withdrawing.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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