News In Brief

A spokesman for Zimbabwe's president declined to comment on whether the evictions of black squatters from some white-owned farms represented a change in government policy. For the first time Tuesday, police destroyed scores of the squatters' shelters and ordered more than 700 occupiers to evacuate the farms. Since February, blacks have, with President Robert Mugabe's blessing, invaded more than 1,000 white-owned farms.

Mexican police were to investigate an apparent clash between Zapatista rebels and supporters of the ruling party in the state of Chiapas, where an opposition candidate prevailed last weekend in a governor's election. Reports had yet to be confirmed, because the incident took place in the remote hamlet of Pena Limonar, but several sources said at least three people had been killed and more than 30 injured. State officials said the clash may have involved a land dispute.

Relatives of the crew of the sunken submarine Kursk met with Russian President Vladimir Putin for six hours, taking him to task on his handling of the crisis. At the families' request, ceremonies at Vidyayevo, the Kursk's base, and at the site of the accident were canceled yesterday, which was declared a day of national mourning. The families apparently wanted the bodies to be recovered first. The government, meanwhile, promised to give each crew member's family compensation equivalent to 10 years of officer's pay - about $7,000.

Tensions were rising in Indonesian West Timor, with a UN official saying that anti-independence militia gangs attacked three relief workers Tuesday. The official also said the militiamen had set up roadblocks to stop refugees from returning home to East Timor, which voted for independence last Aug. 30. An Indonesian military officer said accusations by the UN official weren't true and that the armed forces were trying to disarm the gangs.

At least three people were killed in Burundi's capital and eight others injured when a grenade exploded in a crowded market, police and witnesses said. No one claimed responsibility for the attack, which came just days before the country's warring factions are to sign a peace deal in the Tanzanian town of Arusha. The Burundian government has come under fire in recent weeks from an increasingly nervous Tutsi constituency worried about handing over power to a demo- cratically elected government in a country inhabited mostly by Hutus.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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