News In Brief

A "room with special conditions" was provided for ex-Yugo-slav President Slobodan Milosevic in a Belgrade prison after his surrender early Sunday to police. The former hard-line ruler was charged with abuse of power and diverting government funds for personal and political use. Reports said he will be detained for at least 30 days, with Justice Ministry officials promising "a fair trial." UN war-crimes tribunal officials in The Hague, who have indicted him, hailed the arrest, although they consider that their jurisdiction takes precedence over Yugoslav courts.

One of the most violent weeks to date in the Middle East ended with higher than usual tensions as hundreds of angry Jews at Hebron in the West Bank buried a baby girl killed early last week by Palestinian sniper fire. The funeral followed a far larger turnout Saturday for the burial of seven Palestinians killed the day before in clashes with Israeli troops. Meanwhile, a commander and four other members of Yasser Arafat's Force 17 personal guard were said to be among six militants seized near Ramallah by Israeli troops.

The likely fallout from an incident involving a US Navy surveillance plane and two Chinese military jets was not immediately clear as the Monitor went to press. Authorities in Beijing would not comment on a report that the US plane had been damaged in a midair collision and made an emergency landing on Chinese soil. But they said one of the Chinese planes had crashed and that a search was under way for its crew.

"Clearly, things are moving that way," an aide to Prime Minister Tony Blair said of reports that Britain's national election will be delayed because of the foot-and-mouth disease crisis. Blair had been expected to call the vote for May 3, to coincide with local elections. A news agency reported the latter also will be postponed, probably today. The likely new date: June 7. Despite the government's much-criticized handling of the crisis, which was at 870 cases Sunday, Blair's Labour Party still held a 16-point lead over the rival Conservatives in opinion polls.

An unexpectedly large crowd rallied in Moscow to support freedom of the press - in particular an independent TV station. NTV is the only major station in Russia that the Kremlin does not control, but the state-owned gas utility - with the backing of President Vladimir Putin - has been trying for months to seize it from exiled media baron Vladimir Gusinsky. NTV has angered government leaders with its comprehensive coverage of the war in Chechnya. The rally Saturday was estimated by police to number at least 20,000 protesters.

At least 11 people died and as many as 200 others were hurt when an unidentified man threw an explosive device into a jammed arena in northwestern Sri Lanka. The crowd was attending a pop music concert. The assailant, said to be among the dead, was not immediately identified. But police said the attack was more likely linked to a feud between rival gangs than to separatist Tamil rebels, whose truce against the government is still in effect.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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