News In Brief

A cold rain was inhibiting final campaigning in Israel before tomorrow's election as Palestinian groups called for a "day of rage" to "affirm the continuation of the intifada." Caretaker Prime Minister Ehud Barak was making a last-ditch appeal for votes to Russian Jews and Israeli Arabs, many of whom have said they'll boycott the election or cast blank ballots to protest his government's peace strategies.

Eight days after the worst earthquake in India's history, rescuers pulled a teenage survivor to safety from a water well. The report came as Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's government said India saw "signs in the air" of improved relations with rival Pakistan after their respective leaders commiserated via telephone over the disaster - their first conversation in almost two years.

Another extension of the demilitarized haven for Colombia's largest leftist rebel group was announced by President Andres Pastrana, who said he and the movement's leader would meet Thursday to try to revive peace talks. Pastrana granted a four-day extension last week; this one will expire Friday. Opinion polls show growing percentages of Colombians want Pastrana to use force against the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) if they fail to make concessions.

A "somewhat positive" response by Tamil separatist rebels to her government's invitation for peace negotiations has made them more likely, Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumara-tunga told the nation in a televised address. But she did not indicate where or when such talks could take place and ruled out agreeing to a truce beforehand, as demanded by the rebels. Diplomats said it was likely that a first round would be held "fairly soon" in Oslo.

An American employee of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Doctors Without Borders was freed unharmed by Chechen rebels almost a month after being kidnapped. Reportedly, no ransom was paid for Kenneth Gluck, who was seized at gunpoint Jan. 9 while attempting to deliver medical supplies in the breakaway region.

Hundreds of armed police stopped a small band of journalists from holding a public protest in Zimbabwe's capital. Beatings and tear gas were threatened if the would-be marchers did not disperse in five minutes, reports said. The protest was called because of escalating violence directed at news media that have been critical of President Robert Mugabe and his government.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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