News In Brief

Retaliatory actions "not limited to attacking empty buildings" were reported under way by Israeli forces against Palestinian targets as the Monitor went to press. The unspecified missions came despite the declaration of a cease-fire by Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat after the Friday night suicide bombing in Tel Aviv that killed 20 people and wounded 90 others in the worst such incident in four years.

A five-day period of mourning began in Nepal after the fatal shooting Friday night of King Birendra and seven other members of the royal family, apparently by Crown Prince Dipendra. Dipendra was in critical condition in a hospital after reportedly turning the gun on himself. His uncle and acting regent, Prince Gyanendra, called the shootings "an accident," but speculation centered on a bitter row over family disapproval of Dipendra's wedding plans.

Using some hostages as human shields, Muslim guerrillas in the southern Philippines passed through encircling army troops and again were on the run in a nearby jungle. Two of the 20 captives taken last week by the Abu Sayyaf movement were found beheaded. Nine other original hostages escaped in the confusion Saturday, but more were seized when the guerrillas commandeered a church and hospital.

More than 100 senior police officers in Indonesia were refusing to accept the dismissal of their commander by President Abdurrahman Wahid. Gen. Suroyo Bimantoro was declared "nonactive" Saturday after refusing Wahid's demand that he resign for "meddling in politics." The embattled president also fired his security minister Friday. The moves are widely seen as a prelude to a declaration of a state of emergency by Wahid.

Hopes grew for a resumption of peace negotiations in Colombia after the government and leftist rebels signed an accord calling for the first exchange of prisoners in 37 years. Between them, the army and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia are believed to be holding about 800 prisoners. The deal calls for those in the worst physical condition to be freed first.

Election organizers were insisting fraud was "impossible" as Peruvian voters went to the polls for Sunday's presidential runoff. Reports said the atmosphere in Lima, the capital, was calm despite the closeness in late opinion polls between front-runner Alejandro Toledo and former President Alan Garcia.

High gasoline prices in the US are due to refinery problems rather than from a shortage of crude oil, so no change in output is likely when OPEC members meet tomorrow, senior officials said. The cartel has cut production twice this year. The outcome was not expected to be influenced by Iraq's decision to suspend exports of crude over unhappiness at UN plans for a one-month extension of its oil-for-food program.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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