News In Brief

Newly elected Prime Minister Ariel Sharon used a car-bomb explosion in an ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem neighborhood as a pretext to repeat his vow not to talk peace with Palestinians until there's "an end to terror and violence." Reports said 10 people required medical treatment because of the blast, which also destroyed two vehicles.

"To bring the situation back to normal," Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid is due today in East Java, scene of a week of often-violent demonstrations by his supporters to head off impeachment proceedings. The protests mostly have targeted the former ruling Golkar Party, whose members of parliament have been most critical of Wahid's performance in office.

An honor guard of leftist rebels saluted Colombian President Andres Pastrana as he arrived deep in their protected zone for a private meeting to try to revive peace negotiations. His discussion with Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) chief Manuel Marulanda was a condition for allowing the rebels to maintain control of the enclave without interference by Army units.

Army troops and riot police closed off the volatile central highlands of Vietnam to outsiders as the communist government - in an unprecedented move - acknowledged ethnic unrest was more widespread than reported earlier. "Bad elements" were blamed for damaging state property and causing social instability, resulting in at least 20 arrests and an unspecified number of injuries, some of them to security forces. The clashes, between ethnic minority tribesmen and relocated majority-Viet lowlanders, have centered in the coffee-growing provinces of Gia Lai and Daklak. Hotel operators reportedly have told would-be foreign guests they'll be closed for up to a month.

In exchange for the dropping of an official fraud investigation against him and possible prison sentence, ex-German Chancellor Helmut Kohl agreed to pay a $142,000 fine for accepting $1 million in secret cash donations while in office, his lawyers said. But the ruling Social Democrats said they'd seek to have Kohl testify again on the matter before a separate parliamentary inquiry, arguing that by accepting the deal he had forsaken his right to remain silent. The scandal, which broke in late 1999, cost Kohl's Christian Democrats their hold on power.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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