News In Brief

Middle East peace negotiations will not resume until the violence in the West Bank and Gaza ends, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak vowed. Barak met twice in Paris with Secretary of State Albright; a three-way meeting with Palestinian Authority President Arafat had yet to take place as the Monitor went to press. For his part, Arafat set two conditions for new talks with Barak: a guarantee of protection for Palestinians and an inquiry into the violence, which now has caused at least 60 deaths.

Authorities were trying to quell spreading antigovernment protests across Serbia, but there were signs that embattled President Slobodan Milosevic was losing his grip on the news media, the main propaganda pillar of his regime. Police ordered coal miners near the city of Lazarevac to end a four-day strike, arrested truck drivers who were blockading a highway in Milosevic's hometown, Poza-revac, and vowed to detain political opposition leaders for "subversive activities." In Vojvodina province, however, the state-run newspaper announced it was switching editorial policy and would carry news of opposition activities.

The stability of the five-month-old government of Taiwan was in question following the sudden resignation of Premier Tang Fei and word that an overhauled Cabinet will be announced as soon as today. Analysts linked Tang's resignation to the halt in construction of a $5 billion nuclear power plant, although he cited ill health as his reason. His departure caused another 2.7 percent drop in the Taiwan Exchange stock index, which has lost 40 percent of its value since President Chen Shui-bian took office in May. Tang's successor, Chang Chun-hsiung, is a veteran legislator but has no background in economics.

There will be no grant of clemency for the convicted son of ex-President Suharto, Indo-nesian leader Abdurrahman Wahid said. The decision was expected after the corruption trial of the elder Suharto was dismissed last week, sparking massive public protests. But Wahid said he'd leave to Indonesia's attorney general whether to jail Hutomo (Tommy) Mandala Putra for 18 months for his crimes. Wahid also was expected to overhaul the military, which was roundly criticized for failing to stamp out militia violence in West and East Timor.

An end to protests by teachers and farmers that have all but shut down Bolivia's major cities for 16 days was being negotiated, President Hugo Banzer said. In a national radio address he said he hoped not to have to use force to remove peasant roadblocks but warned that the Army was poised to do so. Ten protesters died last week while demanding higher teacher pay and that farmers be allowed to replant 30,000 acres of coca, the source of cocaine. The government has eradicated most of the nation's coca in an attempt to diversify the economy.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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