News In Brief

Hundreds of Europeans were fleeing Sierra Leone, ignoring claims that the peace process in the volatile West African country was still viable. The UN also was evacuating nonessential civilian employees, although a spokesman said there were plans to bring in additional troops soon for its peacekeeping mission. Neighboring Nigeria offered to send 1,600 soldiers to help support the UN effort. Meanwhile, concerns grew that violence could escalate after rebel leader Foday Sankoh disappeared from the Freetown home where he was under UN guard.

With 10 days to go before its new president is inaugurated, Taiwan was warned that there's "no room" for negotiation on the "one China" principle cherished by the mainland government in Beijing. The warning was the latest in a series of attempts to intimidate President-elect Chen Shui-bian into including references to the "one China" principle in his inaugural address. He has previously rejected it.

A bank employee arrested in the Philippines in connection with history's most virulent computer virus was freed pending investigation of materials seized Monday at the Manila apartment he shares with his girlfriend. He denied having any involvement with the e-mail virus. His friend, who promised to turn herself in for questioning, still was being sought as the Monitor went to press. Meanwhile, a list of pseudonyms of people with links to a Manila computer school - and possibly to the virus - was being decoded by investigators.

Muslim rebel kidnappers and their hostages slipped through a security cordon in the southern Philippines. But government officials said the move did not worry them, "since we know where they are and are still in contact with them." But two hostages, a Frenchman and a German woman, are in urgent need of evacuation for medical reasons, the officials said. Meanwhile, ex-NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana (and a Libyan diplomat arrived at the head of a humanitarian mission and to mediate negotiations with the rebels, respectively.

An antigovernment protest in the hometown of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was canceled after heavy police intimidation. Busloads of demonstrators were prevented from reaching the site, and organizers and journalists attempting to cover the rally were arrested or held for questioning. But Milosevic's politically powerful wife, Mirjana Markovic, was allowed into the city, Pozarevac, to meet with top allies. The rally was rescheduled for Tuesday in Belgrade, the capital.

The week-old nationwide strike by 85,000 Norwegians ended only two hours before it could have broadened into potentially one of Europe's worst labor conflicts. But terms of the settlement between private companies and the Confederation of Trade Unions - a 4.9 percent hike in pay and benefits - were seen as a sign that workers in the vast public sector would demand similar deals in what already is one of the Continent's most expensive nations. Had the settlement not come when it did, analysts said it likely would have resulted in tens of thousands of layoffs elsewhere in Europe as manufacturers ran out of Norwegian-made parts.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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