News In Brief
Serb delegates arrived in Paris for the resumption of peace negotiations on Kosovo, saying they still opposed deployment of NATO troops but were open to "some acceptable" compromise. They said, however, that they wouldn't agree to a UN-led peace-keeping force in Kosovo and that, in any event, a "political agreement" had to be signed first. Meanwhile, reports said the US and the European Union had become divided on which of them should lead the mission to implement an autonomy deal in Kosovo if the Serbs and ethnic-Albanian separatists reached one this week.
Schools and public-sector offices were to reopen today on the troubled Indonesian island of Ambon after last week's rioting - some of the worst since religious violence began Jan. 19. Army troops searched passengers arriving on inter-island ferries Sunday, confiscating weapons and arresting a dozen men. The Army said it planned to meet with Christian and Muslim leaders to try to end the violence. But an intelligence source said that task had become more difficult because members of separatist movements now were involved.
Agreement in principle on a coalition government that would involve all political forces in Afghanistan was announced by UN mediators. In a statement issued from neighboring Turkmenistan, the UN said negotiators from the Taliban movement and representatives of the rebel coalition that controls an area of northern Afghanistan also agreed to a token exchange of prisoners and to new talks on a permanent cease-fire.
A previously unheard-of Kurdish group claimed responsibility for the latest incident of violence in Turkey. The "Revenge Hawks of Apo" said it had set an arson fire in an Istanbul department store that killed 13 people. Apo is the nickname of Abdullah Ocalan, who has led the Kurdish campaign for autonomy and now awaits trial for treason. The fire followed a suicide-bomb explosion last week that killed eight people, also in Istanbul, and a car-bomb blast in which three others died earlier this month in the city of Cankiri.
As Brazil returned to normal after last week's massive power outage, experts warned that more such occurrences were likely. An estimated 97 million people were without electricity late last week after lightning struck a substation near So Paolo, shutting airports, causing massive traffic jams, trapping people inside elevators and subway trains, and unleashing a looting spree that cost businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars. Experts said the demand for energy has risen faster than Brazil's ability to generate it.
Consideration was to begin today in Ecuador's Congress of the unpopular economic-reform measures proposed by President Jamil Mahuad, amid warnings that they'd plunge the country into deep recession. Mahuad's job-approval rating fell to 16 percent in an opinion poll after he announced the measures last week. Meanwhile, the Central Bank chief and three of its directors resigned in protest against the proposed reforms, and union leaders called on Ecuadoreans to stop paying bills for basic services in a show of "civil disobedience."