Riots Disrupt Haitian Funeral Procession
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Marchers threw rocks at anti-riot police and set up barricades of burning tires in the Haitian capital yesterday as violence flared during a funeral procession for 11 people killed by police two weeks ago.
Hundreds of people chanting "Justice! Justice!" marched through central Port-au-Prince behind hearses for two victims. They forced the hearse drivers to go around the capital's central square, passing in front of Port-au-Prince's main police station. There the marchers threw stones at the station, running for cover when police fired gunshots into the air. The protesters, rubbing limes around their eyes to protect them against tear gas, clashed repeatedly with police.
Earlier in the day agitators at a funeral Mass for the victims forced Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis and Justice Minister Camille Leblanc to flee out the back of the church.
On May 28 police killed 11 men in Carrefour Feuilles, a Port-au-Prince shantytown. They claimed the victims were gang members who opened fire on police and died in a shootout. Relatives and witnesses said, however, that the victims were innocent and had been shot to death in cold blood.
The U.N. International Civilian Mission in Haiti reported that 10 victims were shot in the head and the other was shot in the heart. At least four police, including the Port-au-Prince police chief, are being detained. Another officer is in hiding.
Haiti Annuls Disputed 1997 Elections
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Haiti's electoral council has annulled the results of controversial 1997 elections that have been at the root of a paralyzing two-year-old political power struggle.
The announcement Friday was an encouraging start to a visit by a group of U.S. dignitaries led by Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), who arrived on a mission to promote the electoral process. Most of Haiti's political parties -- which have been noncommittal or hostile to proposed legislative and local elections in November and December -- welcomed the announcement.
N. Koreans Agree to Talks on Standoff
SEOUL -- The U.N. Command in South Korea said today North Korea has accepted its proposal for a meeting to discuss the ongoing naval standoff between the two Koreas.
"North Korea today indicated that they will meet with United Nations Command representatives as early as Tuesday, June 15," the U.N. Command said in a statement.
On Monday, North Korean naval vessels began crossing a line in the Yellow Sea drawn by the United Nations as a maritime boundary, the command noted. The tense standoff over the region's fishing waters has continued through today when four vessels briefly entered South Korean waters.
China Launches Two U.S. Satellites
BEIJING -- A Chinese rocket carried two U.S.-made satellites into orbit yesterday to serve a global paging and telephone network, China's official New China News Agency reported.
The Long March 2C rocket lifted off near central China's Taiyuan city, the 15th consecutive successful launching since a string of failures in 1996.
The satellites are part of the troubled Iridium global network, a venture led by the U.S. corporation Motorola, Inc. Software problems, the high cost of the service and lack of an aggressive sales force have kept subscriptions lower than expected. U.S. politicians and defense officials have accused China of using the commercial satellite program to improve military rockets and ballistic missiles.
THE MIDDLE EAST
Dalai Lama Urges Nonviolence for Mideast
JERUSALEM -- Clad in his red and yellow robes, the Dalai Lama met with a crowd of Israelis and later said that embracing nonviolence could help end the Middle East conflict.
The exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader is on a private, three-day visit to the Jewish state, where he is taking part in an interfaith conference.
The Dalai Lama advocates a policy of nonviolence in reconciling with China. When asked whether that policy could solve the Middle East conflict, he replied, "I think the best way to solve problems in the long run . . . is nonviolent principle."
With Sanctions Ended, Gadhafi Visits Zambia
LUSAKA, Zambia -- Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, on his first trip abroad since U.N. sanctions against his country were suspended, flew to Zambia where he discussed a Congo peace initiative with President Frederick Chiluba.
Jailed Algerian Backs Gestures for Peace
ALGIERS -- Islamic Salvation Front leader Abassi Madani, who is serving a prison sentence in his home, has endorsed the decision by the group's armed wing to end its guerrilla war against the Algerian state.
"I confirm my full endorsement of the decision. . . . to end the fighting and I also call on other [rebel] groups to join the peace," Madani said in a letter to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and published in newspapers.
Liberia Appoints New Envoy to Sierra Leone
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone -- Liberia has appointed a new ambassador to Sierra Leone after over a year of friction between the West African neighbors.
Sierra Leone's state radio named the new ambassador as Macdonald Boom, 47, a former secondary school headmaster. Liberia's former ambassador left Sierra Leone's capital Freetown in early 1998.
Soft Drinks Focus of New Belgian Scare
BRUSSELS -- Eggs and meat banned in Europe's latest food scare were back in Belgium's shops, but as chicken, pork and beef filled some shelves others were emptied of soft drinks made by U.S. giant Coca-Cola. The Belgian unit of Coca-Cola told retailers to clear batches of Coke, Sprite and Fanta after the government ordered a ban because several dozen children had become ill.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
"This is not the kind of behavior you expect out of a world power that wants to be taken seriously for peacekeeping."
-- A Western diplomat, speaking of Russian troops moving into Kosovo.