News In Brief

Following through on its threat issued last week, Israel's Shas Party formally resigned from the coalition government, leaving Prime Minister Ehud Barak with a minority in parliament. The move, which under law will not take effect for 48 hours, also was seen as jeopardizing Barak's prospects for concluding a peace deal with Palestinians by September. Aides to Barak said efforts to woo Shas back probably would be futile and they expected he'd try to form a new coalition.

A proposal for a Korea-style summit by Taiwan's new leader with Chinese President Jiang Zemin was largely ignored by the Beijing government. In Taipei, Chen Shui-bian invited Jiang to meet him at a time and place of the latter's choosing to discuss any issue. He also offered to support Beijing's bid to stage the 2008 Olympic Summer Games. But China's Foreign Ministry repeated demands that Chen accept its "one China" principle as a precondition to talks, adding "on this major matter ... we will not give in."

Bomb disposal experts defused an explosive device found outside the residence of Britain's secretary for Northern Ireland, and suspicion for planting it fell on Irish Republican Army dissidents. Meanwhile, the North's largest pro-British paramilitary group, the Ulster Freedom Fighters, threatened to end its six-year truce - effective immediately - if Catholics did not stop what it called the "ethnic cleansing" of Protestant neighborhoods in the capital, Belfast.

An increase in crude-oil supplies of just under 1 million barrels a day is expected to be OK'd by OPEC members meeting today in Vienna. Such an action, likely to take effect July 1, would be the second time in four months that the cartel has tried to bring down futures prices on world markets, where they have been ranging between $28 and $30 a barrel in recent weeks. Non-OPEC producers Mexico and Norway also are poised to announce increases, analysts said.

New sectarian fighting caused as many as 160 deaths in Indonesia's troubled Molucca islands, reports said. Another 150 people were seriously hurt and an unknown number of women and children were kidnapped in an attack on a Christian village by Muslim raiders using automatic rifles. A church and 292 houses were set on fire before soldiers dispersed the attackers. The incident was one of the worst in 18 months of religious feuding in the region.

Official election results demanded by rioters in Haiti's three largest cities Monday showed the party of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide won all but one of 17 contested seats in the Senate. But the Elections Council said it wasn't ready to announce results of voting for seats in parliament's lower house. And it postponed another round of balloting scheduled for Sunday. From the US, where he fled to escape a death threat, council chief Leon Manus disputed the vote count, claiming Aristide's Lavalas Family movement had won only seven Senate seats.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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