News In Brief

Saying its diplomats and powerful national resolve had forced a change in the "rude and unreasonable" US attitude, China's government claimed victory in the 11-day surveillance-plane standoff and announced it was prepared to release the 24-member crew once "necessary procedures" were complete. Traveling in South America, President Jang Zemin added that he hoped US-Chinese relations "would now go forward on the path of cooperation and understanding." (Stories, page 1; editorial, page 10.)

A formal letter presented by US Ambassador Joseph Prueher twice used the words "very sorry," China's official Xinhua news agency and People's Daily reported. But analysts noted that, for domestic consumption, the Chinese-language versions of the note employed terms with stronger meanings than their English counterparts, although the strongest word for apology - and the one demanded by Chinese negotiators - "dao qian," did not appear.

A special meeting between Chinese and US representatives was scheduled for next Wednesday to discuss "the prompt return" of the Navy plane forced to land on Chinese soil because of the April 1 incident as well as continued surveillance flights.

A new meeting on security between Israeli and Palestinian officials was to be held as the Monitor went to press, following another day of heavy clashes in the Gaza Strip. Israeli tanks and bulldozers leveled or damaged 27 houses in an assault on the Khan Yunis refugee camp. Two people were killed and about 40 others were hurt in the incident, which Israel said was provoked by Palestinian mortar attacks on Jewish settlements. (Story, page 6.)

A rally estimated at 70,000 people and calling on the government of Turkey to resign because of the nation's deep financial woes turned violent in the capital, Ankara (above). Slightly smaller rallies were held in Izmir and Mersin. In Ankara, more than 110 people were hurt, many of them police, and at least 30 were arrested in a failed demand to be allowed to march on parliament. Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said he and his coalition partners wouldn't quit, but the military announced "postponement" of $19.5 billion in modernization projects to ease the financial crisis. Turkey's lira has lost 45 percent of its value against the US dollar since Feb. 22.

With as many as 10,000 protesters massed outside, the upper house of parliament in the Netherlands approved the world's first legal euthanasia measure, 46 to 28. The vote was the second time in less than five months that lawmakers there grappled with cutting-edge social engineering legislation. In December, they approved homosexual marriage.

Angry farming leaders were due to protest to Prime Minister Tony Blair a report blaming the agricultural sector for deliberately helping to spread foot-and-mouth disease among Britain's livestock. The report, written for Blair and leaked to news outlets, accuses some farmers of infecting their sheep, pig, and cattle herds with the malady on purpose in order to claim financial compensation. Meanwhile, although the number of outbreaks in Britain has topped 1,200, Stonehenge and other top tourist parks were reopened to the public.


(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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