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With time winding down to yet another crucial turning point in the Northern Ireland peace process, British Prime Minister Tony Blair was promising amendments to his legislation aimed at convincing Protestants to participate in the province's self-rule government. Protestant First Minister-designate David Trimble, heading into a meeting at which his Ulster Unionist Party was to vote on joining the government, called Blair's bill "flawed" on the issue of Irish Republican Army disarmament.

A massive counter-demonstration called by Iran's hard-line clerics and carried live on TV, roared its defiance against students who have been demanding the resignation of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. In a message to the nation, Khamenei said the increasingly violent student rallies in Tehran threatened security and gave an Islamic youth militia free reign to "crush" them. Those behind the rallies could be executed, security officials said.

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Despite another day of harsh rhetoric aimed at President Lee Teng Hui by China, a comfortable majority of Taiwanese support his stand on bilateral relations, a new survey showed. Sixty percent of respondents to a poll conducted by the ruling Nationalist Party said they backed Lee's characterization of "state-to-state" ties rather than as "political entities" under the longstanding "one China" policy favored by the Beijing government. For a fourth consecutive day, China stepped up denunciations of Lee, calling him "traitorous."

Preceded by his view that the US should scale back its role in Middle East peacemaking, new Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak flew to Washington for his first official meetings with American leaders. He told The New York Times before leaving that he wanted the US to assume a lower profile in negotiations with Israel's Arab neighbors than during the rule of his predecessor, Benjamin Netan-yahu, when the CIA was "counting the policemen in the Gaza Strip."

With President Alberto Fujimori personally supervising, Army commandos flushed Peru's most-wanted guerrilla out of hiding and captured him. Oscar Ramirez Durand, alias Comrade Feliciano, has headed the leftist Shining Path since 1992. He was cornered in highlands 140 miles east of Lima, the capital. More than 30,000 people have died in violence blamed on Shining Path since 1980. Above, commandos cross a narrow footbridge as they close the loop around Ramirez Durand.

An amnesty for rebels trying to topple him from power was offered by Congo President Laurent Kabila, aides said. The initiative applied to "soldiers, civilians, and politicians." The two rebel factions have yet to sign the cease-fire accord agreed to last weekend by Kabila and all other African governments involved in the 11-month civil war. One of the factions said it has clashed with Kabila's forces "every day" since the truce was reached.

A major marketing campaign to recapture lost sales was expected after the European Union announced it will lift its three-year ban on imports of British beef. The blockade, estimated to have cost cattle producers $2.37 billion, will end Aug. 1, although imports still will be subject to rigid specifications. The ban was imposed following the outbreak of so-called "mad cow" disease.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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