News In Brief

The agreement to call a halt to the violence between Palestinians and Israeli troops was off to a shaky start as at least 30 more people were hurt in new clashes. Senior Israelis said they would not "walk away" from the truce and had allowed the Palestinian airport and border crossings into Egypt and Jordan to reopen. But defiant Palestinian militia leaders told cheering supporters they'd continue the uprising.

Hopes for a new national unity government between the Labor Party of embattled Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and the opposition Likud movement were doused by the latter's Ariel Sharon. Sharon broke off negotiations, saying he could not join a coalition that is still trying to pursue a fast-track settlement with the Palestinians.

New Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica won a promise from the leader of Montenegro to continue negotiations on reorganizing their shrunken nation. But he couldn't convince Milo Djukano-vic to join his government. Lacking a majority in parliament, Kostunica's Democratic Opposition of Serbia coalition needs another party's help to form an administration that would govern both republics. As an alternative, the two sides may form a confederation called "Serbia and Montenegro" in which each would be virtually autonomous, a Kostunica ally said.

Army troops were sent onto the streets of Nigeria's largest city to quell the latest outbreak of violence between Hausa and Yoruba ethnic groups. In three days of confrontations that have spilled over into Lagos, at least 100 people have died and an estimated 20,000 others were reported seeking refuge in police and Army barracks. Both groups had earlier agreed to sign a peace pact. Those fleeing their homes were largely from the Hausa community, which appealed for Army intervention.

Impeachment proceedings were launched against Philippine President Joseph Estrada as 42 lawmakers, six from his own party, charged him with accepting bribes and violating the Constitution. Hearings could drag on for months, analysts said, but likely would fail since Estrada's ruling coalition controls the legislature. Only a popular revolt - in which people take to the streets - might lead to his ouster, they said.

Four days before the controversial presidential election in Ivory Coast, observer teams were pulled out of the country in protest by the UN, the European Union, and Canada. A UN spokesman cited the exclusion of major opposition candidates from Sunday's ballot as the reason for the decision.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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