News In Brief
Yugoslav army tanks were helping Serb security forces pound the village in Kosovo where 45 ethnic Albanians were found massacred over the weekend, the BBC reported. As concern mounted that the province could erupt into heavy new fighting, senior NATO leaders were due in Belgrade to tell Yugoslav President Milosevic he must honor the cease-fire agreed to last October. But Serb police said they'd "search" the battered village - which analysts said usually means a sweep for Albanian guerrillas. Meanwhile, chief UN war-crimes prosecutor Louise Arbour was turned away by border guards as she tried to enter Kosovo to investigate the massacre.
Effective immediately, the battered real, Brazil's currency, will be allowed to float on international markets, the government announced. Central-bank officials said the policy would last indefinitely, with intervention only to cushion "disorderly movements in the exchange rate." The government's 8 percent devaluation of the real last week cut profit-taking on the So Paolo stock exchange from $1.8 billion last Thursday to $321 million Friday. The currency lost 15 percent of its value after the government's move, rather than the 50 percent or more that some analysts had expected.
Facing a deadline later this week for approval of the departments in Northern Ireland's new power-sharing government, rival Protestants and Catholics opened a new round of critical discussions in Belfast. The two sides not only must have the 10 departments OK'd by a majority vote in their new legislature but also are counting down to the March 10 date on which Britain wants to hand over home-rule powers. Old disagreements quickly surfaced at the Belfast talks. Prime Minister-in-waiting David Trimble said Irish Republican Army disarmament was a "fundamental requirement." Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams argued that disarmament was not an explicit condition for his party to hold seats in Trimble's Cabinet.
There was cautious reaction by rebels in Congo to word of a cease-fire agreed to by other African countries involved on both sides of the fighting there. A spokesman for the Congolese Rally for Democracy said his forces had no representative at the truce meeting in Namibia, would need to study the text of any official statement, and repeated demands for direct talks with Kabila. Kabila also was not represented at the meeting.
Police in helicopters dropped tear gas and smoke grenades on an estimated 10,000 Romanian coal miners as they marched toward the capital, Bucharest, to protest low pay and the likelihood of layoffs. The miners had been demanding a 35 percent hike in wages and were in the 14th day of a strike. Their 160-mile trip in sub-freezing temperatures was being made more difficult by the cancellation of trains - and Interior Ministry troops blasted tons of rock from mountainsides to block the main road. In a statement, the government offered talks with the miners if they would abandon their walkout.