News In Brief
US diplomats in Beijing appealed to the Chinese government for better security after Day 2 of massive street protests following the bombing of China's Embassy in Yugoslavia. The government, which routinely bans protests, urged restraint but said it backed "all legal" demonstrations. Angry Chinese smashed windows, splattered the embassy walls with paint, and tried to ram its gate with a truck. Protests also took place in Shanghai, Xian, Nanjing, Changsha, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Macao, and Hong Kong. State news media did not report official US expressions of regret for the bombing.
Japan, Russia, and India led non-NATO countries in condemning the attack on the Belgrade embassy, which killed four people and injured more than 20 others. President Clinton called it a tragic mistake and a Pentagon/CIA statement blamed it on "faulty information" that led NATO to believe the embassy was Yugoslavia's weapons-procurement agency. NATO jets avoided Belgrade Saturday night and early yesterday, concentrating on TV-radio transmitters elsewhere in Yugoslavia.
The stage appeared set for a new confrontation between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization after the latter's headquarters in a disputed section of Jerusalem was ordered closed. The two sides have been locked in conflict for weeks over Orient House, which Israel says cannot legally be used pending the outcome of negotiations on the city's status. Barring a last-minute compromise, the closure order was to be served at 7 p.m. local time. Palestinians have warned of violence if the order is carried out.
The first violence in East Timor since the signing of last week's agreement on an autonomy referendum killed one man and wounded several others. Two foreign journalists also were beaten by anti-independence protesters. Despite the trouble, authorities said the disarming of rival groups on the independence issue was proceeding smoothly. Hundreds of foreign police are due to arrive in East Timor later this month to serve as "advisers" on the Aug. 8 autonomy referendum.
Prime Minister Blair's Labour Party was trying to negotiate coalition deals with centrist rivals in Scotland and Wales after failing to win outright majorities in last week's parliamentary elections. Labour was thwarted in each case by nationalists. The Scottish National Party won 35 of 129 seats at stake. In Wales, the Plaid Cymru took 17 of 60 seats, doubling its vote in the United Kingdom's 1997 general election.
Eighteen days of celebration are to begin today in Pakistan to mark the first anniversary of nuclear-weapons tests that were a response to those in rival India. The celebrations are to end May 28, the first of last year's two test dates. The government dismissed criticism by human-rights advocates, calling the rallies and other festivities a means to motivate Pakistan's 140 million people to become more self-reliant.
Rescuers searched for 200 passengers missing after an overloaded ferry sank in strong river currents in southern Bangladesh. The vessel was on a routine crossing Saturday morning when a tropical storm hit the area. An estimated 100 others were reported safe.