12/24/96 - 04:27 PM ET - Click reload often for latest version
Nationline, Washington news, State news, News front page, Politics front page
BELGRADE, Yugoslavia - A gunman in a crowd of pro-government supporters fired on opponents of Serbian President Milosevic Tuesday at the height of street clashes. Witnesses said two people were shot, one in the head. The gunfire and police intervention dramatically escalated tensions in what had been more than four weeks of relatively peaceful demonstrations against Milosevic and his annulment of Nov. 17 local elections won by the opposition. In Washington, State Department spokesman Glyn Davies warned that a "crackdown against the protesters will have serious consequences and lead to Serbia's further isolation from the international community."
WORCESTER, South Africa - A bomb and two hand grenades exploded in a crowded shopping area in this farming town outside Cape Town Tuesday, killing two people and injuring at least 46 others, police said. It was not immediately clear who set off the explosions or why. Worcester is a farming town in the wine country outside Cape Town. Its residents are mostly Afrikaners - descendants of South Africa's Dutch settlers - and mixed-race people. The town is in Western Cape province, the only province in South Africa to give majority support to the white-led National Party in the nation's first all-race election in 1994. The National Party was in power during apartheid.
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat ended a meeting Tuesday without a deal on a troop pullback in Hebron, the last West Bank City under Israeli control. Yet, Dennis Ross, President Clinton's special Mideast envoy, called the meeting "extremely productive." Ross arrived in the region over the weekend, seeking a breakthrough before Christmas.
LIMA, Peru - Freed hostages were calling for a negotiated end to the siege at the Japanese ambassador's house, but there was no sign Tuesday that Peru's government or the rebels who still hold 140 people are willing to give any ground. The select group remaining inside the walled residence - including Japanese businessmen, top Peruvian officials and the Peruvian president's brother - were in their seventh day of confinement with no end in sight.
MEXICO CITY - Three household servants have been charged with the gruesome beating deaths of two journalists and their three children, police said Tuesday. One of the three confessed, claiming he was avenging the rapes of two maids by the father of the family, they said. One of the family's two chauffeurs, Alejandro Perez de la Rosa, 27, was in custody late Monday after admitting he plotted the killings along with another chauffeur and his wife, city police chief Luis Roberto Gutierrez told Television Azteca.
KINSHASA, Zaire - Opposition leaders and supporters of President Mobutu Sese Seko have agreed on a new "crisis government" that retains his embattled prime minister, a government spokesman said Tuesday. The move, announced on state television, followed a struggle for Premier Leon Kengo wa Dondo's job. Critics said Kengo mishandled a rebellion in eastern Zaire that left the country in chaos and sparked an international refugee crisis. Mobutu's supporters and opposition leaders met Monday and agreed on the new list of 27 ministers and 13 junior ministers, many of whom served in the last government.
NEW DELHI, India - An Indian air force transport aircraft crashed in southern India Tuesday, killing all 20 people on board, a news agency said. The victims were all members of an air force band, United News of India said, quoting a defense ministry statement. The Avro aircraft was on a flight from Madras to Hyderabad when it crashed in farmlands in Andhra Pradesh state. Hyderabad is the state capital. The airplane crashed after one of its two engines failed, Press Trust of India news agency said, quoting airport officials in Hyderabad. The captain had reported engine trouble before contact was lost with ground staff. The debris of the plane and bodies were strewn across a large area, the agency said.
MOSCOW - A Russian spacecraft carrying two monkeys bristling with electrodes and monitors blasted off from an Arctic cosmodrome Tuesday on a two-week space trip. The Bion-11 project, sponsored by the United States, Russia and France, is to study the effects of weightlessness. It has angered animal rights activists in the West, who question the need for animal research after so many years of human space flight.
MOSCOW - President Boris Yeltsin returned to his office at the Kremlin Monday, ending six months of trying to run the government from the sidelines while recuperating from heart problems. Yeltsin's motorcade entered the Kremlin shortly after 9:30 a.m. Monday, effectively marking the start of his second term. His heart trouble struck at the end of June, only days before his July 3 re-election victory. Yeltsin, who always has governed with big, bold strokes, said he was impatient with the country's social problems and warned his staff there would be a reckoning for anyone who slacked off during his absence. Shaking up his staff would allow Yeltsin to reassert his authority, but it probably wouldn't amount to much more than rearranging the furniture.
GENEVA - A new outbreak of Ebola has killed eight people in Gabon and health officials worry that the virus may spread into the African country's capital, the World Health Organization said Monday. Cases of the highly contagious disease were concentrated near the central Gabon town of Booue, about 175 miles east of Gabon's capital of Libreville, the agency said. One person also died in a district of Libreville and another case was reported at a hospital in the large, central town of Lastourville.
NEW DELHI, India - The Supreme Court on Monday ordered more than 2,000 federal employees to vacate government housing they did not deserve. The judgment came in response to a public-interest lawsuit challenging the way coveted apartments and the sprawling white bungalows of senior officials are allotted at the discretion of Cabinet ministers and housing department bureaucrats. Some people who were given subsidized government apartments illegally rented them at higher market rates. Those to be evicted were to be given 90 days to leave once they received notices.
UNITED NATIONS - The United Nations will not send a military force to eastern Zaire to help Rwandan refugees, the Security Council decided Monday. The council's decision was largely a formality, as participating countries had already agreed there was no longer a need for the multinational force because so many refugees had already gone home. "In the light of the new situation in the region, the functions of the multinational force will come to an end," said Security Council President Francesco Paolo Fulci of Italy.
MOSCOW - Strapped for cash and desperate for new ways of increasing revenues, the Russian government will soon start charging tourists and traders $10 each to cross its borders. The tax will be used to finance border guards, Viktor Mashinsky, deputy chairman of parliament's Economic Policy Committee, told the ITAR-Tass news agency Monday. The border guard service, like other branches of Russia's military, has been seriously underfunded and is struggling to feed and clothe its troops.
SINGAPORE - Singapore's election isn't until Jan. 2, but the governing People's Action Party has already won. Candidate nominations closed Monday with opposition parties challenging only 36 of the 83 Parliament seats up for grabs, giving the long-ruling PAP a guaranteed majority. Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong and former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew were among top PAP figures who were declared automatically re-elected when no challengers registered to run in their districts.
SEOUL, South Korea - Two former presidents of South Korea sentenced to 17 years in prison for a coup and massacre of pro-democracy demonstrators said Monday that they will not appeal their convictions. Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo said arguing about the past would do no good in the midst of problems facing the country. Despite their lengthy sentences, they are unlikely to spend the rest of their lives in jail. South Korean media speculated that President Kim Young-sam may grant them an amnesty.
TIRASPOL, Moldova - The incumbent leader of the breakaway Trans-Dniester region easily won re-election as president and said Monday he would continue his push for independence from the former Soviet republic of Moldova. Igor Smirnov won 72% of the vote in Sunday's balloting compared with 20% for businessman Vladimir Malakhov, according to the election commission in Trans-Dniester, a region in eastern Moldova populated mainly by ethnic Slavs. Smirnov, 55, won the first presidential election in 1991 and has campaigned for full independence.
HONG KONG - Hong Kong's leader-in-waiting failed Monday to soften Gov. Chris Patten's opposition to the provisional legislature China has set up to replace the elected one. In their first meeting since Tung Chee-hwa was named chief executive by a China-organized committee 12 days ago, China weighed in with a warning to Britain not to "cause fresh troubles" in last six months of its rule over Hong Kong. The outgoing British governor and his Hong Kong Chinese successor "agreed to disagree," Patten spokesman Kerry McGlynn said.
MOSCOW - Tajikistan's president and the top opposition leader signed a cease-fire agreement aimed at ending a four-year civil war in the Central Asian country. The cease-fire pact announced commits both sides to complete all negotiations and restore peace in Tajikistan by July 1, 1997. It also provides for the creation of a national reconciliation commission, which will oversee peace efforts.
PARIS - France's largest food company urged customers to return some products containing British beef before April 15 as a precaution against mad cow disease. The European Union imposed an embargo on British beef on March 27, one week after Britain announced a probable link between mad cow disease - which eats sponge-like holes into the brains of infected cattle - and a deadly human disease blamed for killing 10 Britons.
Copyright 1996 USA TODAY. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.