News In Brief
Yasser Arafat symbolically carried a gun in public for the first time since 1994 to protest Israeli attacks against Palestinians in Bethlehem that injured at least 12 people, some seriously. Each side accused the other of provoking the clashes, which centered on the site revered by Jews as Rachel's Tomb. In Gaza, Israeli troops paved over Palestinian farmland to open a new road for Jewish settlers, a move also protested as a violation of the 1993 Oslo peace accords.
A new offer affecting peace prospects in Kashmir was put on the table by Pakistan's military government. In what analysts called a significant concession, the Pakistani regime said for the first time it wouldn't oppose direct negotiations over the disputed state between separatist movements and the government of India. Previously, Pakistan has insisted on being included in any discussions on Kashmir. Meanwhile, however, a separatist group claimed responsibility for a new bomb attack in Kashmir that killed two people and hurt 22 others.
Citing a heavy workload and shaky health, 1998 Nobel Peace Prize winner John Hume quit Northern Ireland's Protestant-Catholic self-rule government. Analysts said the move would likely have little day-to-day impact, since the leader of the Catholic Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) has delegated much of the work in the coalition to his deputy, Seamus Mallon. Hume shared the Nobel Prize with Protestant David Trimble, now the first minister of the coalition. He remains a member of the British and European parliaments.
A street demonstration in the largest city of Ivory Coast turned violent as an estimated 20,000 people defied a government ban on rallying in support of opposition leader Alassane Ouattara. Reports said at least three people died in clashes with police amid an attempt to march on the national TV station. Ouattara was barred last week from seeking a seat in parliament by the same court that ruled him off the ballot in October's presidential election.
A peace treaty is to be signed next Tuesday ending the two-year border war between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the latter's foreign ministry said. The deal reportedly includes a provision to demarcate the disputed 620-mile boundary formally and establish a commission that will consider claims for compensation from the fighting, which has killed tens of thousands of people. The rivals have been operating under a cessation of hostilities agreement reached in June.
Bone meal and other animal byproducts were banned as livestock feed by the agriculture ministers of the European Union. Meeting in emergency session, the ministers voted to apply the ruling to all 15 EU member states as a result of growing concerns over a new spread of so-called "mad cow" disease. (Story, page 1.)
The chief of Greece's 2004 Olympic organizing committee resigned in the latest blow to his nation's efforts to show that it can plan and stage the event on schedule. The oft-criticized project was warned late last month by International Olympics officials that it could not afford any more stumbles.
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