News In Brief

Despite international pressure and massive demonstrations in the streets of Yugoslavia, its elections commission had yet to release the results of Sunday's vote for president as the Monitor went to press. Critics accused the commission of stalling to allow incumbent Slobodan Milosevic to manipulate the vote totals- to declare himself the winner or to set up an Oct. 8 runoff against challenger Vojislav Kostunica.

Previously peaceful protests turned violent outside the annual meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in the Czech Republic as anti-capitalism protesters threw fire bombs at helmeted troops, who responded with tear gas and water cannon. Leaders of the estimated 9,000 demonstrators hoped to prevent delegates from exiting the meeting hall in Prague until they agree to disband their organizations. Inside, the financial chiefs promised to listen to the protesters' complaints but said globalization would go forward.

The outcome of tomorrow's national referendum in Denmark on replacing the krone with the single currency of the European Union is too close to predict, final opinion polls showed. Of three major surveys, two put the likely split at 46 or 47 percent opposed to 42 likely to vote "yes." A third poll stood at 46 percent in favor to 43 percent opposed. But each had at least 11 percent undecided and a 3 percent margin of error. Analysts said the closely watched referendum could signal whether Britain and Sweden, other EU members that have yet to accept the euro, ultimately do so.

An apparently missing videotape was at the center of a campaign-fund scandal with implications for France's next presidential election. Police searched the home of ex-Finance Minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn for the tape, which contains allegations that chief of state Jacques Chirac was present in 1986 when almost $650,000 in kickbacks from contractors was paid to his Rally for the Republic party. Chirac, a presumed candidate for reelection, was mayor of Paris at the time. Transcripts made from copies of the video have appeared in the Le Monde newspaper. Strauss-Kahn is a friend of Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, who's expected to challenge Chirac for the presidency in 2002. Strauss-Kahn said he was given the tape two years ago by the lawyer for a now-deceased Chirac associate.

In a move that critics said could further weaken Venezuela's democratic institutions, President Hugo Chvez asked the National Assembly to grant him powers for one year to decree dozens of new laws affecting the economy. His request was expected to win quick approval. Chvez is accused by political opponents of showing dictatorial tendencies.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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