News In Brief

Four people died - one of them a bodyguard for the senior leader of Hamas - and at least 129 others were hurt as Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip marked the 53rd anniversary of Israel's founding. Palestinians call the occasion "al Naqba," or "catastrophe." Most of the casualties came in stone-throwing clashes with Israeli troops. But the Hamas activist was killed as he fired a mortar round. Hamas has carried out numerous suicide bomb attacks inside Israel.

A senior US envoy's attempt to persuade China that President Bush's proposed national missile defense system is good for world peace was rebuffed after key talks in Beijing. Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly said "China shares with us an interest in promoting peace and stability." But a Foreign Ministry spokesman said the US plan "harms the interests" of opposing nations and "destroys the global strategic balance." The two sides agreed to continue dialogue on the issue.

Ethnic-Albanian guerrillas were given until midday tomorrow to abandon their insurgency against Macedonia's government or face "adequate measures to finally eliminate" their threat. Government forces have held their fire against the rebels since Sunday, despite the ambush of a police patrol that wounded one man. In the interim, Red Cross workers have evacuated more than 100 civilians who were too frightened to flee villages in rebel-held territory.

For the first time, Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid acknowledged his impeachment by parliament this summer appears certain. But he vowed to mount an aggressive defense, warned that several provinces in the troubled nation would try to secede if he's forced from office, and pledged to seek the job again in 2004. Previously, Wahid has predicted that parliament would not dare to push him out for his alleged role in two financial scandals. He has vowed to ignore a May 30 deadline for responding formally to a second censure by lawmakers.

With curious spectators packing a Warsaw courtroom, Poland's last communist leader finally went on trial for the 1970 shootings of strikers protesting price increases for basic consumer goods. Forty-four people died and more than 1,000 others were wounded, allegedly on the orders of Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski when he was defense minister. The case was suspended not long after opening in 1996 because of Jaruzelski's numerous health problems. He left politics in 1990 after eight years as president.

On technical grounds, the International Olympic Committee rated Beijing one of three candidates "able to organize an excellent" 2008 summer games. Istanbul, Turkey, and Osaka, Japan, were eliminated as potential hosts. In an eagerly awaited report, the IOC did not rank the Chinese capital or Paris or Toronto in a preferred order. It cited China's "impossible to ignore" record on human rights but said its members would have to reach individual conclusions on the matter. The winning city is scheduled to be announced July 13.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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