News In Brief
Peace negotiators for the Palestinians were waiting until nightfall at an Egyptian resort to learn whether Israel would resume discussions. Caretaker Prime Minister Ehud Barak recalled his negotiators Tuesday and suspended other contacts with the Palestinians after two missing Israelis were found murdered in the West Bank. As the Monitor went to press, Barak had yet to meet with his advisers on whether to send the negotiators back to Egypt.
The bid by China to win the host role for the 2008 Olympic Games was at issue as thousands of police ringed Beijing's Tiananmen Square, instantly preventing banned Falun Gong followers from attempting new public protests on the first day of the Lunar New Year. The heavy security followed a mass suicide attempt by presumed Falun Gong members Tuesday. An International Olympics Committee inspection committee is due in Beijing next month and could conceivably assess China's human rights record.
Protesters pelted the motorcade of chief UN war crimes tribunal prosecutor Carla Del Ponte with eggs in Yugoslavia's capital as she shuttled between meetings aimed at winning the extradition of ex-President Slobodan Milosevic. She also was rebuffed by Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic, who repeated his government's stand that war crimes trials would be acceptable only if held on Serbian soil.
The swearing-in of murdered President Laurent Kabila's son as leader of Congo was postponed until at least today - apparently because a special session of parliament to OK his appointment was running late. The degree of authority Joseph Kabila will have also was unclear amid reports of divisions among the political and military factions in the government's inner circle. (Story, page 6.)
For the second time in four years, one of British Prime Minister Tony Blair's most trusted advisers quit his Cabinet over an appearance of impropriety. Secretary for Northern Ireland Peter Mandelson denied wrongdoing. But he conceded that his role in helping a wealthy Indian national obtain a passport exposed him to new "stories and controversies." In 1998, Mandelson quit as trade and industry minister after it was learned he'd borrowed almost $600,000 to buy a house from a businessman his staff was investigating.
With the abandoned Mir orbiter becoming a safety hazard, Russian controllers launched an unmanned cargo ship to push it back into Earth's atmosphere. In recent weeks, the station's central computer was briefly disabled and its gyroscopes failed. What's left of Mir after most of it burns up on reentry is expected to splash down off Australia in early March.
(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society