News In Brief

The casualty count rose to 71 deaths and at least 1,200 injuries as relief efforts began in earnest following Saturday's earthquake in Peru. The number of people left homeless also climbed, to 20,500. Meanwhile, seismologists said they were revising the magnitude of the quake upward from 7.9 to 8.1, making it the world's most powerful so far this year.

The government of ethnically volatile Macedonia must stop seeking a military victory over Albanian insurgents if it wants further financial aid, the European Union warned. The notice, in a communique from EU foreign ministers, came as the Army prepared to "finish the job" of routing rebels from a strategic suburb of the capital, Skopje, despite an evacuation deal brokered by diplomats. The rebels said they'd leave only if permitted to keep their guns and withdraw to other Albanian-populated towns.

Both main political parties in Albania were claiming victory in Sunday's election, which international monitors called valid despite scattered incidents of violence. The voting for 140 members of parliament was seen as another step in the effort to fully integrate the impoverished nation into the rest of Europe. Unofficial reports gave Prime Minister Ilir Meta's Socialist Party the lead over the Democrats of his ousted predecessor, Sali Berisha.

The decision banning the main opposition party in Turkey was "noted with concern" by the EU, which said it undermined the country's democratic credentials. The move against the pro-Islamic Virtue Party by the Constitutional Court came three years after its predecessor also was outlawed. Turkey's acceptance into the EU has been on hold since1999 because of its checkered human rights record.

Police and community leaders were seeking explanations for two nights of ethnic rioting in Burnley, England. The town is 20 miles from Oldham, the scene last month of Britain's worst race riots in more than a decade, and 60 miles from Leeds, also the site of recent rioting. But despite a high ratio of South Asian to white residents, Burnley had no history of trouble. (Story, page 7.)

An Internet site run by guerrillas in Chechnya confirmed the death of a senior field commander at the hands of Russian troops. Arbi Barayev reportedly was trapped inside a house near Grozny, the capital, as the Russians attacked. He had been blamed by the Kremlin for the executions of 170 hostages in a wave of kidnappings dating back to 1998.

All restrictions on the transport of live cattle and beef and dairy products were being lifted in the Netherlands as the agriculture ministry declared the country's foot-and-mouth disease epidemic over. Only Britain was hit harder by the crisis, which led to the slaughter of 260,000 animals and $1.2 billion in losses.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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