News In Brief

Hopes that defeated ex-President Slobodan Milosevic might keep a foothold allowing his eventual return to power in Yugoslavia were dealt two major setbacks. The government of Serbia, the nation's largest republic, resigned, as did Prime Minister Momir Bulatovic, one of his strongest political allies. New elections for a Serbian parliament were scheduled for Dec. 19.

A sundown deadline for Palestinians to end West Bank and Gaza violence or face the full force of Israel's military was looming as the Monitor went to press. But as Muslim nations around the world rallied to the Palestinian cause, diplomatic efforts to end the latest fighting also picked up intensity. Meanwhile, a US-born rabbi and two more Palestinians were found dead, bringing the number of casualties to at least 89.

As many as 40,000 police and paramilitary troops were deployed to guard polling places around Sri Lanka as voters cast ballots in today's parliamentary elections. At least 40 people died in suicide bombings and another 10 in fights between supporters of President Chandrika Kumaratunga's People's Alliance and of the opposition United National Party in the weeks before the election. The rivals offer competing strategies on how to end 17 years of fighting over an ethnic Tamil homeland.

US help in conducting the coming presidential election in Ivory Coast was suspended after the latter's Supreme Court limited the number of candidates to five. Chief among those OK'd by the court is military ruler Robert Guei. But the justices disqualified 14 others, led by popular ex-Prime Minister Alassane Dramane Ouattara and Henri Konan Bedie, whom Guei overthrew last Christmas Eve.

An easy first-round reelection victory for President Aleksander Kwasniewski left Poland's opposition rightists with shaky prospects for parliamentary balloting, which must be held by next fall. With vote-counting nearing completion, the formerly Communist Kwasniewski appeared likely to emerge with 53 percent of the total, to 17 percent for his closest rival.

The 10-month-old coalition government of Argentina was struggling to avoid the appearance of crisis after the abrupt resignations of three senior officials in a bribery scandal. President Fernando de la Rua said his "load will be heavier" after his vice president quit Friday, citing displeasure over a Cabinet shakeup that left two men implicated in the scandal in key posts. Over the weekend, his labor minister and acting Senate chairman also resigned.

Hundreds of Bedouin pulled down their tents and left the demilitarized zone along the Kuwait-Iraq border, ending a tense five-day standoff. Kuwait accused the Baghdad government of sending the campers as a provocation on the pretense that they wanted to return to the oil-rich sheikhdom that tens of thousands of them were forced to leave after the 1991 Gulf War.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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