News In Brief

In a show of anger, the government of Egypt ordered its ambassador home from Israel following the latter's retaliatory attack Monday against Palestinian targets in the Gaza Strip. It was not clear when Muhammad Bassiouny would be permitted to return. Senior Israeli officials called the move "grave" and said it would affect Egypt's previously "positive role" as a mediator in Middle East peace negotiations. But they said Israel planned no recall of its ambassador to Egypt.

What to do about the leadership vacuum in Peru was being considered by members of Congress. Legislators were faced with decisions on whether to accept the resignations of President Alberto Fujimori and both of his vice presidents. Those moves could shift power to Valentin Paniagua, the new president of Congress, until a national election can be held April 8 - although Paniagua represents an opposition party. Fujimori said he wished to stay in Japan, where he has been on state business, but "without seeking political asylum."

The key stock market index in Japan fell to a 20-month low amid the deepening uncertainty surrounding Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori. The Nikkei slid to the 14,408 level, compared to more than 20,000 when he took office in April. Despite surviving a no-confidence vote in parliament Monday, Mori confronted a difficult future, analysts said. A new opinion poll showed his personal disapproval rate at 70.5 percent. And his Liberal Democratic Party only narrowly avoided a damaging split when disaffected members changed course at the 11th hour to help defeat the no-confidence vote. Mori reportedly planned a shake-up in his Cabinet to try to tighten his grip on power.

Members of the ruling coalition in the Philippines Senate were "freed" by President Joseph Estrada to vote their consciences in his forthcoming impeachment trial. He acted, however, after Majority Leader Francisco Tatad joined five other senators in quitting the coalition, leaving only five more who remain loyal. At least 15 votes among the Senate's 22 members are required to oust Estrada from office.

For the first time since his fall from power early last month, ex-Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic appeared on national TV, denouncing enemies and urging unity at this weekend's convention of his Socialist Party. His speech appeared to leave no doubt that he intends to remain active in Yugoslav politics, despite demands to the contrary by Western governments.

More than $400 million was promised by the French government to aid people whose livelihoods have been threatened by its safety measures against the spread of so-called "mad cow" disease. Since the latest scare over the risks of eating beef erupted in France, sales have plunged 40 percent, affecting farms, slaughterhouses, retailers, and feed dealers, among others. Meanwhile, worried European Union agriculture ministers agreed on a new testing program in member states for all cattle over 30 months old.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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