News In Brief

An evacuation plan for the thousands of whites who may want to leave Zimbabwe if the struggle for land turns more violent has been discussed in European capitals, Britain's Foreign Office confirmed. But it said there was nothing to suggest an immediate need to put the plan into action. The report came as Zimbabwe's Justice Ministry announced it would "proceed immediately" to confiscate white-owned land and redistribute it to black peasants within 10 days, once President Robert Mugabe has invoked terms of the Temporary Powers Act.

Two leading reformers in Iranian President Mohamad Khatami's government will be the targets of impeachment efforts by parliament, Tehran newspapers reported. The reports said the latest move by conservative hard- liners was because Khatami's culture and interior ministers had allowed a pro-democracy press to flourish. Last week, Iran's Press Court shut down 16 such publications. In a speech Saturday, Khatami said "nothing can halt" his reform agenda and denied that it is anti-Islamic.

In an apparent quest for legitimacy, the stronger of Colombia's two leftist guerrilla forces launched a new political party. But the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) said its Bolivarian Movement for a New Colombia would remain clandestine until further notice to prevent the capture and execution of its leaders. Analysts said the new organization appeared to be an effort by FARC to prepare civilians in rebel-held territory for political agitation.

Would-be rescuers overran the jungle camp of Muslim rebels in the Philippines and sprayed tear gas into a tunnel used as an escape route. But the rebels and their hostages made a successful getwaway. Inside the tunnel, however, the force of government troops and civilian volunteers found a cache of weapons, sacks of rice, electrical generators, and other equipment. Meanwhile, a free-lance journalist visited another rebel encampment holding foreign tourists and other hostages captured last week in a daring raid on a resort in neighboring Malaysia. She reported they appeared weak and hungry and in need of adequate sanitation.

In a gala display of pageantry, communist Vietnam staged 25th anniversary celebrations marking its victory over US forces and their allies. But senior officials warned the nation's future is threatened by "arbitrary and imperious behavior, wasteful spending, embezzlement, bribery, and other social evils." And they appealed to the US and other foreign governments involved in the 12-year war "to make active contributions to solving its consequences." In its largest amnesty to date, the government also freed more than 12,000 prisoners.

Tentative agreement on the entire plan for a genocide tribunal in Cambodia was reached between the Phnom Penh government and the UN, ending more than a year of haggling. The two sides set June 15 as their deadline for signing a formal deal to try senior Khmer Rouge leaders for the deaths of 1.7 million people in the late 1970s. The agreement, brokered in part by US Sen. John Kerry (D) of Massachusetts, would give foreign and Cambodian judges and prosecutors equal standing. But it still must be ratified by Cambodia's legislature.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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