News In Brief
Elian Gonzalez's teachers will "undertake the masterful work of making him a model child" now that he's back in Cuba, an official statement read over state radio and TV said. After a private reunion with family members in Havana, he was expected to remain at a special boarding school in the capital for "two or three weeks" before returning with family members to his hometown, Cardenas.
The fairest presidential election in Mexico since 1929 was expected Sunday despite accusations that the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) was buying votes and engaging in coercion to keep its hold on power. Rightist candidate Vicente Fox, in a virtual statistical tie with the PRI's Francisco Labastida in final opinion polls, warned of mass protests and legal challenges if there were reports of fraud. Many Mexicans believe fraud cost leftist candidate Cuauhtemoc Cardenas the 1988 election. He is running again but is a distant third in polls.
A protest march in the streets of Lima, Peru, turned violent when police clashed for hours with hundreds of supporters of former populist presidential candidate Alejandro Toledo. The marchers had hoped to demonstrate to a visiting Organization of American States delegation their desire for a new election. The envoys were in the capital to propose democratic reforms to President Alberto Fujimori, who won a third five-year term May 28 when Toledo boycotted their runoff election on grounds it was rigged.
A wooden ship with almost twice as many passengers as it was licensed to carry sank in remote eastern Indonesia. Authorities said poor weather was hampering search-and-rescue efforts and it was too early to tell whether there were survivors. More than half the 492 people aboard were believed to be refugees from sectarian fighting in the Molucca islands.
Preparations were under way to "isolate" the rebels behind Fiji's political crisis by cutting off electricity and other services to the parliament complex where they hold 27 hostages. The move, which had yet to be ordered as the Monitor went to press, is seen as a tactic by the military government to up the ante against the rebels, who earlier this week ignored a deadline to free their hostages. An "exclusion zone" also could be ordered, a junta spokesman said, obliging area residents to leave and forbidding all visitors.
A key member of the Aun Shinri Kyo doomsday sect in Japan was sentenced to hang for his role in the 1995 nerve-gas attack on Tokyo's subway system. Yasuo Kiyoshi is the second member to draw such a sentence; the first is appealing his penalty for the attack, which killed 12 people and made thousands of others ill.
Vittorio Gassman, who died in Rome, was a giant of stage and screen. He achieved fame both in Italy and Hollywood for his acting talents. In his early career, he often was typecast as a playboy but later evolved into comedic roles. He also was a noted producer and playwright.
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