News In Brief

Both sides pledged good-faith efforts to "get this right" as Northern Ireland's shaky self-rule administration of Protestants and Catholics once again was up and running. First Minister David Trimble of the Protestant Ulster Unionist Party and his Cabinet planned to hold their first meeting tomorrow after Britain handed back the powers it suspended Feb. 12. But as the Monitor went to press, the hard-line Democratic Unionist Party, which holds two Cabinet seats, had yet to announce whether it would cooperate or withdraw in protest against Catholic participation.

Defending a runoff election victory deemed illegitimate by international observers, Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori pledged to initiate a "more authentic democracy" during his unprecedented third term. But opposition candidate Alejandro Toledo, who boycotted the runoff on grounds that it was rigged, vowed massive protests against Fujimori's "dictatorship." Despite the controversy, analysts said they doubted the US or Peru's immediate neighbors would impose severe economic sanctions. Fujimori remains a key US ally in the war against cocaine production and smuggling.

The new military government of Fiji bowed to rebel coup leader George Speight's demands, revoking the Constitution in favor of a previous racially biased version that precludes ethnic Indians from political leadership. New ruler Frank Bainimarama also promised Speight a new president and Cabinet and pledged to honor an amnesty grant to the rebels, who still hold ousted ethnic-Indian Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry and 30 others hostage.

A mediator was shuttling between delegations from Eritrea and Ethiopia as the Horn of African rivals opened "indirect" negotiations to end their costly two-year-old border war. The two sides were expected to spend most of this week in an Algerian hotel seeking common ground. As the talks opened, Ethiopia announced a withdrawal from the western front, saying its troops had achieved their objectives and did not wish to be an occupation force.

Public support for Japan's new prime minister was in free fall after a furor erupted May 15 over his calling the country a "divine nation" with the emperor at its center. A new opinion poll put Yoshiro Mori's approval rating at just 19 percent, the worst for a head of government since 1946. Meanwhile, still-angry opposition parties introduced a resolution of censure in parliament, to be followed today by a no-confidence motion. Mori apologized for - but has not retracted - the remark, which evoked painful memories across Asia of Japan's World War II nationalistic fervor.

The political movement of ex-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide will enjoy lopsided control of Haiti's Senate, vote-counting from the May 21 election showed. The Lavalas Family Party won 14 of the 19 seats contested, with ballots in two races yet to be tabulated. Lavalas candidates also took 16 of the 83 seats in parliament's lower house and were leading in most of 31 other races for which June 25 runoffs were ordered. The trend strengthened speculation that Aristide will seek the presidency again - and be elected - later this year.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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