News In Brief

A four-month-old girl was killed and 24 other Palestinians were injured when Israeli forces shelled a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip that they said mortar attacks on Jewish settlements had originated from. Prime Minister Sharon said he regretted the death because "children and babies should not be involved in this terrible war that we would one day like to finish." The Israeli attack and one Sunday on a Palestinian-controlled area of the West Bank - the first major incursion in seven months of violence - came after field commanders were given the OK to pursue Muslim militants "if that is necessary to guarantee our security." (Related story, page 7.)

For the first time since the April 1 incident that triggered a standoff between the governments in Beijing and Washington, a US Air Force surveillance plane flew a mission along China's coast, an American defense official said. He said the plane was not escorted by US jets and was not intercepted by Chinese fighters. China, which still holds the damaged Navy EP-3E plane that collided with one of its jets, has demanded an end to the surveillance flights.

Lawyers for opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai won an indefinite postponement of his trial for terrorism while Zimbabwe's Supreme Court considers whether the law under which he was charged is unconstitutional. Tsvangirai is considered the most formidable challenger to President Robert Mugabe's 21-year rule if he remains free. But if ultimately convicted he could be sentenced to life in prison. A new presidential election must be held by early next year.

Seventy-nine people died and foreign-aid workers were being interrogated by UNITA rebels who overran a small city just 37 miles from Angola's capital, reports said. The attack, said to have been carried out at dawn Saturday, was the boldest by UNITA in months and caused thousands of residents to flee to Luanda. Last week, President Jose Eduardo dos Santos said he was ready to examine new peace overtures from UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi.

With a judge telling him, "The law requires me to return you to prison, which I will now do," colorful train robber Ronnie Biggs was back behind bars within hours of his high-profile return to Britain. Biggs, in ill health, returned voluntarily to London Monday from three decades of exile in Brazil. He was convicted of participation in the 1963 holdup of a mail train that carried $7.3 million worth of banknotes, but escaped from prison two years later and fled the country.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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