News In Brief

Day 2 of talks between US and Chinese representatives ended on "a positive note," but both sides stressed that no agreement was reached on return of the $80 million Navy plane held on Hainan Island or the end of surveillance flights. There were no details on whether or when the discussions at China's Foreign Ministry would resume, although a Chinese spokeswoman said "the sides have agreed to keep in touch." The Foreign Ministry showed reporters an animated simulation of how it claims the April 1 midair collision occurred and video of an earlier encounter between US and Chinese pilots.

Another day of Palestinian mortar fire and Israeli retaliation ended with a powerful explosion at a building used by Yasser Arafat's Force 17 security service in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Reports said at least three people were hurt in the blast, which left a hole in the roof of the building and rubble in the street outside. Israel was denying claims that it was responsible for the explosion.

A peaceful end appeared in sight to four days of clashes between Indian and Bangladeshi troops over a disputed section of their common border. The fighting killed 18 soldiers, wounded five civilians, and caused thousands of people to flee their homes. Both sides said they'd withdraw to the positions they occupied before the fighting broke out.

Efforts to pursue independence for Montenegro, the smaller of the two remaining republics of Yugoslavia, were expected to hinge on Sunday's parliamentary elections. President Milo Djukanovic, whose Victory is Montenegro's coalition holds leads of 7 to 18 percent in late opinion polls, has pledged a referendum on breaking away from Serbia if he wins. But in Podgorica, the capital, an estimated 10,000 demonstrators rallied Tuesday to show opposition to leaving the Yugoslav federation. And a poll conducted by Britain's Millennium Institute showed anti-independence sentiment with a 3 percent lead.

Dozens of rebellious soldiers were in custody in Burundi after their reported coup attempt ended in failure. There were no deaths or injuries, the Defense Ministry said, and President Pierre Buyoya, who'd been in peace negotiations with Hutu rebel leaders in neighboring Gabon, was returning to try to shore up his authority. Analysts said the soldiers who seized the state radio station were dissident Tutsis unhappy at the peace efforts aimed at ending seven years of civil war.

A strike over alleged repressive policies at Ethiopia's historic Addis Ababa University turned violent, resulting in as many as 38 deaths and 252 injuries. The 500-year-old school was closed indefinitely after two days of clashes between police and thousands of students - the nation's worst domestic disturbance since 1993. Secondary schools also were closed until Monday as pupils rallied in solidarity with the college students.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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