News In Brief
A wide-ranging agreement designed to neutralize the rebel Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) as a fighting force was signed by its leaders. The deal with NATO calls for the KLA to withdraw from its checkpoints and observation posts in the province and to cease "security" operations unless peacekeepers approve them in advance. A NATO field commander brushed aside concerns that the KLA leadership would be unable to ensure compliance with the pact.
A five-hour delay turned into indefinite postponement of the highest-level talks between North and South Korea in more than a year. The discussions, set for a hotel in Beijing, were to have centered on aid to the North and on family reunions. But the North Korean delegation failed to show up, accusing the South of missing a deadline for delivery of 100,000 tons of fertilizer and denouncing the latter for "reckless provocations" last week in a naval confrontation in the Yellow Sea.
Final election returns in Indonesia were delayed again - this time until an unspecified date next month. Officials blamed the second postponement on poor logistics, which have caused ballots from parts of the far-flung country to trickle in well behind schedule. Protests lodged by some of the 48 parties contesting the election also have contributed to the problem. Results of the June 7 election for 462 seats in parliament originally were expected within days, but the tally was then postponed until Monday.
The first group of UN police assigned to oversee security for the Aug. 8 referendum on autonomy for East Timor arrived in the territory amid new doubts that it would be held after all. UN envoy Jamsheed Marker said it wasn't certain the atmosphere was safe for the vote because of growing concerns about violence between the pro- and anti-independence factions. Dozens of people have died in pre-referendum clashes. Last week, both sides signed a pact to lay down their weapons by July 5. But the pro-independence forces later said they wouldn't disarm until all Indo-nesian troops had withdrawn.
The communist government of China ratcheted up the pressure against a movement that staged a massive surprise demonstration in Beijing in April. In a reference to Falun Gong, which mixes meditation with martial arts, a front-page commentary in the People's Daily newspaper demanded that "superstition" be stamped out before it "confuses our thinking, undermines our fighting will ... and destroys our cohesiveness." Communist Party officials, bureaucrats, and soldiers were banned from joining Falun Gong, and a retired general reportedly was forced to write a self-criticism because he practiced its teachings.
Hundreds of unauthorized revelers were evicted by riot police from Stonehenge in England after summer solstice celebrations got out of hand. An approved ritual at the monument by a smaller number of druids was then canceled. Reports said an 80-foot section of fence was damaged and 23 people were arrested. Solstice ceremonies at the prehistoric site were banned in the 1980s after a rash of similar incidents. But, as a first step in readmitting crowds, a small gathering was OK'd last year.