News In Brief

An order by Yasser Arafat for Palestinians to stop shooting at Israelis from densely populated areas was being ignored as violence between the two sides resulted in at least seven more deaths. The order came on the day Palestinians celebrate the symbolic declaration of statehood by Arafat in 1988 - and following a lengthy talk by phone with President Clinton. Meanwhile, a senior Arafat aide told reporters that Palestinians favor "a war of attrition" while they "encircle Israel" in the arena of international public opinion. (Story, page 1.)

The courts will be asked to rule on the validity of an order barring Sinn Fein Cabinet ministers in Northern Ireland's coalition government from meeting with their counterparts in the Irish Republic, the party said. Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said a complaint would be filed within 24 hours seeking to overturn Northern Ireland First Minister David Trimble's Oct. 29 ban affecting get-togethers of the North-South Ministerial Council, a forum that Catholics see as a steppingstone toward a united Ireland. Trimble issued the ban on grounds that Sinn Fein had done "nothing" to facilitate the surrender of weapons that its ally, the Irish Republican Army, agreed to in the 1998 "Good Friday" peace accord.

Today's historic visit to Vietnam by Clinton was generating more emotion than news coverage in the capital of the US's former enemy. He is to meet with the communist leadership in Hanoi and to make a locally televised speech. But his arrival, except for extra security precautions, was expected to be low-key, with few Vietnamese outside the capital even aware of the occasion - the first in peacetime by a US chief executive and the first under any circumstances since a brief stopover in South Vietnam by President Nixon in 1969. Above, a merchant in Hanoi displays flags of both nations outside her shop.

A "freeze" on peace negotiations with the Colombian government was declared by the nation's largest leftist guerrilla movement. Talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) were to have resumed Tuesday. But the FARC announcement said it was suspending them until the government clamps down on right-wing paramilitary units. FARC leaders reportedly were angered by a Nov. 6 meeting between the government's interior minister and a paramilitary chief.

The final tally of votes in Egypt's parliamentary elections shrunk the majority of President Hosni Mubarak's New Democratic Party (NDP), but only by 9 percent. A series of three runoff elections gave the NDP 388 seats, easily enough to ensure that Mubarak retains his tight grip on power. Opposition parties won only 17 seats, a number equaled by "independent" candidates backed by the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

The acting government installed after last May's coup in Fiji is illegal, and the 1997 Constitution that was scrapped in the process remains in force, the nation's High Court ruled. But the decision will be appealed, an Army spokesman said. Elections for a new parliament are set for March 2002, and the appeals process is seen as likely to take at least that long, meaning the ruling may have no practical effect, analysts said.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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