News In Brief
A one-week deadline was set by Israeli Prime Minister-elect Ariel Sharon for the rival Labor Party to join him in a government of national unity. A senior Sharon ally in his Likud Party said "another government will be formed" if Labor's 1,700-member central committee does not meet by next Monday to vote on joining Likud. Failure to form a government by the end of March would mean a new national election. Analysts said Sharon would be forced to turn to religious and ultranationalist parties - which likely would try to block peace efforts with the Palestinians - if Labor turns him down.
The toll from the worst revolt in the history of Brazil's overcrowded prison system appeared to be at least 16 deaths and more than 70 injuries, reports said, as police finally put an end to 27 hours of violence. President Fernando Henrique Cardoso said "We are more indignant than anyone" at the uprising, which at its peak involved 29 lockups, more than 20,000 inmates, and 7,000 hostages.
Inspectors arrived in Beijing to evaluate China's bid to stage the 2008 summer Olympic Games, saying they did not plan to examine the communist government's much-criticized human rights record. Still, officials left no room for incidents that could cloud the visit by the International Olympic Committee team. Tiananmen Square was closed to tourists, beggars and peddlers were hidden from view, and access to the inspectors by journalists was restricted.
Plans to auction one-year government bonds were abandoned by officials in Turkey amid rising political tensions and a falling stock market index. Instead, the auction featured one-month issues that raised less cash than had been hoped, although officials denied it was a sign of financial crisis. The move came one day after Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit stalked out of a meeting with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer on attacking corruption. Sezer refused to honor Ecevit's demand for a public apology on grounds that he'd been insulted. The flap caused a selloff by investors of $5 billion in lira, almost one-fifth of Turkey's reserves.
Military operations against Muslim separatist rebels in the southern Philippines were suspended indefinitely by new President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for what she hoped would be "a very long time." Arroyo called on members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to reciprocate with "positive moves in the same direction." The truce is aimed at jump-starting peace negotiations and allowing more than 200,000 refugees from the 28-year insurgency to return to their homes.
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