News In Brief
NATO widened its attacks on Yugoslav targets as planeloads of humanitarian aid were sent to the Balkans for the tens of thousands of ethnic Albanian refugees forced to flee their homes in Kosovo. Refugees reaching neighboring Albania and Macedonia reported parts of the Kosovo capital, Pristina, in flames and much of the No. 2 city, Pec, blown up by Serb forces. NATO and international monitors in Kosovo also spoke of Pristina's Albanian residents being herded at gunpoint into railroad cars and of the systematic destruction of their records in the city's archives.
Seven Russian warships and their crews, based in the Black Sea, were ordered to prepare for deployment to the Mediterranean in response to NATO attacks on Yugoslavia. But the Defense Ministry in Moscow said only one of the ships would leave immediately "to monitor NATO actions and enhance Russia's security." The decision was made after Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov's unsuccessful diplomatic efforts Tuesday to bring the Kosovo crisis to an early end. Russia has strongly opposed the NATO strikes but has denied it will become involved militarily in Kosovo.
The motivation behind the 1994 genocide in Rwanda was not tribal hatred, but a raw desire for political supremacy, a new report concluded. "Leave None to Tell the Story" was based on a review of thousands of documents and hundreds of interviews. It said the political elite among the country's Hutu minority "chose to do evil" and that "nothing was spontaneous" in killing an estimated half-million majority Tutsis. The four-year study was conducted by Human Rights Watch and the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues.
In an embarrassment for its efforts at internal reform, Mexico's ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) chose its new top administrator from a field of just one candidate. Jos Gonzalez Fernandez's only rival quit the race last week, arguing that the vote would be unfair. The election was to be a first; previously PRI leaders were appointed by Mexico's president. The party has governed without interruption since 1929, but has come under increasing allegations of corruption in recent years. Mexico elects a new president next year.
A 20-year campaign to change the map of Canada ends successfully today with the official raising of the Nunavut flag over what had been much of the Northwest Territories. The new area is arctic and accessible only by air for much of the year. Most of its 27,000 people are Inuit who for decades were forced by the Canadian government to accept education in church-run boarding schools.
Modernization of Britain's 800-year-old unelected upper house of Parliament took a step closer to completion. The peers OK'd a measure proposed by Prime Minister Blair's government that would deny the right to vote in the House of Lords to members whose seats are inherited. The bill would allow such aristocrats to run for the House of Commons without renouncing their titles, which they must do now. Modernization of the House of Lords was a key campaign vow when Blair sought the prime ministership in 1997.