News In Brief

Without warning, police raided offices of a student movement that has been working to defeat authoritarian Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. In Belgrade, the capital, and the city of Mladenovac officers confiscated posters, bumper stickers, ID cards, computers, and maps detailing the planned activities of Otpor (Resistance). A similar raid was conducted on its office in Novi Sad Sunday. Otpor backs the democratic opposition in the Sept. 24 election.

At least 344 people died and almost 800 others were reported wounded in heavy weekend fighting between Army troops and Tamil rebels in northern Sri Lanka. The Army launched an assault to try to retake positions lost to the rebels in April around the strategically vital city of Jaffna, ending a four-month lull in combat.

All 19 seats at stake in parliamentary elections in Lebanon's capital went to billionaire ex-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and his allies, setting the stage for an overhaul of the national government. Candidates backed by Hariri also scored well last week in other areas of the country, and chief of government Salim Hoss said he'd accept the outcome despite accusing Hariri of using his fortune to buy votes. Hariri also is a political enemy of Christian President Emile Lahoud, although the latter appears to have little choice but to appoint him prime minister.

More than 4 million children returned to public school in Iraq to find their education is no longer free. The Baghdad government announced it has imposed fees of up to $12.50 per student per year, depending on age, to help cover teacher salaries, classroom supplies, and building maintenance. Iraqi families reportedly average four children in public school. Education had been free from kindergarten through college, but years of trade sanctions because of the 1990 invasion of Kuwait have left the government strapped for cash.

Despite a low turnout of voters blamed on heavy rain, Mexico's embattled Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) appeared on course to win back a measure of prestige in a key state election. PRI candidates were leading comfortably in three mayors races in Veracruz. The PRI lost its grip on power in Veracruz to leftist parties in 1997 and on July 2 of this year was humiliated in national elections that swept opposition candidate Vicente Fox to the presidency.

The leader of the coup that caused this summer's political crisis in Fiji was ordered back to prison with 20 followers by the island nation's High Court. The justices overruled a magistrate's attempt to dismiss treason charges against George Speight at least until they consider the validity of an amnesty granted to him as part of a deal ending the 56-day crisis. Speight's coup was designed to restore power to ethnic Fijians over those of Indian descent.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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