News In Brief

Help from any other country, including rival Pakistan, would be welcome in the aftermath of last week's earthquake, Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said. He toured areas hardest hit by the temblor, pledging $108 million in federal aid to victims.

Further contact with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat before next week's Israeli election was ruled out by caretaker Prime Minister Ehud Barak as negotiators for the two sides ended another round of peace talks without agreement. Barak and Arafat had planned a personal meeting later this week in Sweden. Barak, who trails right-wing challenger Ariel Sharon by 16 points in a new public opinion poll, also flatly ruled out joining a unity government if he loses the Feb. 6 vote.

Murder and kidnapping charges were reinstated against former dictator Augusto Pinochet by a trial court in Chile. Judge Juan Guzman also ordered him confined to house arrest after his release Sunday from a hospital, where he was rushed for emergency treatment. Guzman's earlier indictments were struck down by the Supreme Court in December, but it allowed new physical and mental tests for Pinochet to determine whether he's fit to stand trial. By law, the new indictments once again can be appealed.

"No way," controversial President Abdurrahman Wahid told reporters as demands for his resignation grew because of two financial scandals in Indonesia. Outside parliament, police clashed with an estimated 10,000 protesters in support of a special investigation into $6 million in funds allegedly given to Wahid or looted from a government agency by his masseur. Parliament is to issue its response to the probe Thursday.

A new round of reunions - the third so far - was OK'd by the two Koreas for families divided by the peninsula's 1950-53 war. Reports said the Feb. 26-28 get-togethers would involve 100 persons from each side of the Demilitarized Zone. Separated family members also may begin exchanging mail for the first time, beginning March 15.

For the second year in a row, torrential rains were wreaking havoc on Mozambique. Five deaths were blamed on flooding, and authorities estimated the number of homeless people could swell to more than 260,000. Last February and March, flooding killed more than 700 people, displaced hundreds of thousands of others, and destroyed infrastructure and crops.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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