News In Brief

The widely popular but relatively untested Megawati Sukarnoputri was sworn in as new chief of state in Indonesia, ending months of political tumult after parliament ousted her erratic predecessor. She is eligible to rule until 2004, when parliamentary elections are due. Meanwhile, the impeached Abdurrahman Wahid remained in the presidential palace, having failed to win police or military backing for his decree disbanding the People's Consultative Assembly. Jakarta, the capital, was calm and financial markets rallied at the developments. (Story, page 1.)

Disappointed environmentalists were calling the last-minute compromise reached by negotiators at the global climate conference in Bonn, Germany, "Kyoto Lite." It calls, among other provisions, for countries to count forest- and farmland-management as a means of lowering industrial pollution emissions. The US delegate drew boos from the spectator gallery by repeating an oft-stated intention not to ratify the deal. (Story, page 1; editorial, page 20.)

In a 35-minute meeting with Pope John Paul II, President Bush was warned against the "evils" of stem-cell research, which he must decide whether to provide with federal funding. The Roman Catholic Church has staunchly opposed such study, although some scientists think it could lead to cures for such diseases as Alzheimer's and diabetes. The pope also took issue with the the death penalty, which Bush supports.

A "take-it-or-leave it" proposal to rescue the badly frayed Northern Ireland peace accord is expected as soon as today, key political sources said. The plan, being finalized by the governments of Britain and the Irish Republic for presentation to the province's Protestant and Catholic parties, has taken on increased urgency since the resignation of First Minister David Trimble July 1. He quit over the failure of the Irish Republican Army to begin surrendering its arsenal of weapons under the 1998 Good Friday accord. If he isn't reinstated or replaced by Aug. 12, Britain either must suspend the province's Protestant/Catholic power-sharing coalition or organize a new election to succeed him.

Mutinous troops failed in the second coup attempt in Burundi in four months and were on the run, reports said. Two soldiers loyal to President Pierre Buyoya were killed and an aide was in rebel custody. Meanwhile, at a regional summit on ending Burundi's civil war, it was decided that Buyoya, a Tutsi, will remain as interim president for the first 18 months of a transition government, after which he must be succeeded by a Hutu.

Hopes appeared slim for the rescue of 93 workers trapped deep underground after an explosion in an illegal coal mine in China's Jiangsu province. At least 16 miners were killed by the blast, reports said. So far, only 13, three of them women, have emerged alive from the accident.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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