In an apparent major blow to peace hopes in Northern Ireland, the Irish Republican Army withdrew its agreement "to put arms completely beyond use." And, in a related development quickly seized upon by pro-British Protestants as further evidence of the IRA's insincerity, three suspected members of the movement (above, with a military policeman) were arrested in Colombia for engaging in explosives training. An IRA statement blamed the weapons announcement largely on rejection by Protestants of "our proposition."

Israeli tanks and bulldozers leveled a police station in Palestinian-controlled Jenin because "it has become a city of suicide bombers." The incident, the largest incursion of its type since the Palestinian Authority was established in 1994, led to new fighting across the West Bank in which at least 11 people were hurt. (Story, page 1.)

Ratification of the new peace accord in Macedonia will not even be considered until one-third of the weapons of ethnic-Albanian insurgents have been surrendered, parliamentary leaders announced. A day after the accord was signed, violence still was being reported, including the killing of five Albanian civilians and the burning of Slav homes. But conditions had improved enough that NATO officials said the planned deployment of 3,500 troops to disarm the insurgents could proceed sooner than expected.

Elections to restore democracy to Pakistan were promised in October of next year by military President Pervez Musharraf. But, in an Independence Day speech, he did not say whether he'd be a candidate or what role political parties would play in the voting. Currently, they're banned from holding rallies or public meetings. Musharraf, who seized power in 1999, has said he'll honor a Supreme Court order to return power to an elected civilian government within three years.

Giving "fair warning," the leading black businessman in South Africa told whites they must "share" their prosperity or risk the same seizures of land and other assets that are taking place in neighboring Zimbabwe. Cyril Ramaphosa of the Black Economic Empowerment Commission said too much wealth still is in white hands and efforts to increase black participation in business have fallen short. His remarks appeared at odds with President Thabo Mbeki, who has gone out of his way recently to discourage asset seizures in South Africa.

A naval blockade was clamped on the volatile region of Aceh by Indonesian forces to "narrow the room for movement" by separatist rebels and try to cut off the smuggling of weapons and supplies from neighboring nations. It came as 22 Acehnese community leaders were invited to the capital, Jakarta, by President Megawati Sukarnoputri to celebrate a new law that will return to the province 70 percent of its oil and gas revenues, whose exploitation has been a prime factor in the separatist movement.

Compiled from wire service reports by Robert Kilborn, Stephanie Cook, and Matthew MacLean
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