News In Brief

Details were not immediately available on four agreements reached by the leaders of North and South Korea on Day 2 of their historic summit. But they signed a pact aiamed at easing bilateral tensions, improving social and economic cooperation, on allowing reunions of thousands of families separated by their state of war, and on eventual reunification of the peninsula.

Senior Russian officials were defending the arrest of prominent news media baron Vladimir Gusinsky in the face of intense criticism by journalists, business leaders, and politicians. Gusinsky, who had yet to be charged, was detained on suspicion of fraud and theft. He has been a frequent critic of President Vladimir Putin, but the latter denied the arrest was politically motivated or was an effort to gag the press.

The family of authoritarian ex-President Suharto is negotiating to give back billions of dollars of alleged ill-gotten wealth he took from Indonesia, the attorney general said. An attorney for the family, however, said it would seek guarantees that no new legal action be taken against him if he surrenders the assets. Suharto, who ruled for 32 years, would not necessarily escape prosecution on graft charges if the money is returned, authorities said. But new President Wahid has said he'd pardon Suharto if it is.

One day after being pardoned by Italy for his 1981 assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II, Mehmet Ali Agca was escorted home by Turkish security agents. Agca was placed in solitary confinement in an Istanbul maximum- security prison, where he's to serve 10 more years for an unrelated shooting.

A deal that would shut down all 19 nuclear power plants in Germany appeared imminent as government and utility-industry officials neared the end of 18 months of negotiations. Sources said the sides likely would compromise on a plan to close the final plant in the late 2020s. But such a deal probably still would not satisfy Chancellor Schrder's Green Party coalition partners, who have insisted on immediate closure. No industrialized nation has ever committed to such a move.

Eighty thousand catfish hatchlings were being dumped into the river in Hungary that was contaminated in January by a massive cyanide spill from neighboring Romania. Authorities said they were confident the Tisza River now is clean enough to again provide a livelihood for people living along its banks. Fishing has been banned since the spill, which led to predictions that the Tisza would be biologically dead for decades.

A botched rescue attempt by police after the armed hijacking of a Rio de Janeiro bus had much of Brazil in an uproar. The ordeal - carried live on TV - resulted in the fatal shooting of a pregnant passenger and, later, the death of the hijacker in the custody of officers. The city's police commander was fired and some of the officers involved in the rescue were arrested. Officials denied accusations that the first victim died because a policeman fired on his own initiative, but admitted his bullets had struck her.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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