An impasse was reached in negotiations to forge a unity government in Israel between Prime Minister-elect Ariel Sharon's Likud movement and the Labor Party of his outgoing predecessor, Ehud Barak. If Sharon cannot lure the Labor Party into his coalition, he will have until the end of March to find other partners or a new national election must be called. Outside the political arena, a Jewish settler and two more Palestinians were killed in new intifada violence, raising the number of dead since it began last Sept. 28 to at least 387.

The wave of violence aimed at keeping Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid from being impeached entered a new week as thousands of his supporters smashed a local government compound in East Java, his political base. But Wahid also was dealt two setbacks. Results of a new opinion poll found 88 percent of respondents agreed that his Feb. 1 censure by parliament over two financial scandals was deserved. And his own brother told journalists Wahid should step aside and delegate more power to Vice President Megawati Sukarnoputri.

Protesters carried a weekend demonstration against an official probe of war crimes in the early 1990s into a second day in Croatia, posing the first serious threat to the new government. Analysts said it was "obvious" that nationalists from the late President Franjo Tudjman's party seek to regain power "on the streets." Veterans of the civil war blocked highways and vowed to stage another rally Thursday in Zagreb, the capital. The blockades followed a protest Sunday by an estimated 100,000 people. Tudjman refused to prosecute Croats suspected of committing atrocities against minority Serbs, but his successor was elected on a pledge to do so.

Confident opposition leaders predicted that growing street protests in Ukraine would oust President Leonid Kuchma from power by May. Kuchma was holding a one-day meeting on bilateral cooperation with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. But he became curt when asked whether they'd discussed the turbulence in Kiev, where thousands of protesters Sunday demanded he answer allegations that he had ties to the murder of a prominent journalist. The rally was the third in a week. In one of his harshest attacks yet on Iran's hard-line clerics, President Mohamad Khatami warned that if their "misuse of power" continued, not even the military could save the nation. Speaking at a conference on security, the reform-minded president said the clerics who oppose him "accept no change" and "fight all the people's demands in the name of religion."

Tent schools opened to children across the Indian state of Gujarat even as local authorities awaited word on whether the communities hardest-hit in last month's earthquake would be abandoned. Meanwhile, the government was hearing a chorus of complaints over alleged discrimination against Gujarat's Muslim minority and lower-caste Hindus in providing relief after the Jan. 26 quake.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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