10 IRA Dissidents Held in Omagh Bombing
BELFAST -- Police in both parts of Ireland arrested 10 suspected Irish Republican Army dissidents in their latest effort to find the people responsible for last year's car-bomb slaughter in Omagh.
Police have arrested but freed without charge nearly 100 people since 29 people were killed in the Aug. 15 attack on the religiously mixed Northern Ireland town. The car bomb was planted by the so-called Real IRA, dissidents opposed to the group's July 1997 truce.
So far only one person -- a 46-year-old pub owner originally from South Armagh and living near Dundalk -- has been charged in connection with the bombing, the worst single atrocity in the 30-year conflict over the British-ruled territory.
France Deplores Arrest of 13 Iranian Jews
PARIS -- French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine said that the arrest of 13 Jews in Iran was intolerable and that he had summoned the Iranian ambassador to express France's anger.
In an interview with Europe 1 radio station, Vedrine said he thought conservative religious groups opposed to Iran's reformist president may have been behind the arrests.
An influential Iranian cleric said on Friday that the Jews had passed secrets to Israel through third countries and that they deserved to hang. Iran has yet to reveal the identities of the 13 or to state officially the nature of the evidence against them.
Thousands of Cuban Protestants Celebrate
HAVANA -- Tens of thousands of Cuban Protestants held an unprecedented open-air celebration at Havana's Revolution Square in a further sign of increased religious tolerance by the ruling Communist Party.
Banging tambourines, joining hands, waving banners, and chanting "Christ Lives!" and "Cuba For Christ!" as many as 100,000 people filled the square beginning in the early hours for the culmination of month-long Protestant celebrations across the island. President Fidel Castro and other senior leaders watched from front-row seats.
The event was held in the same place where 500,000 Cubans gathered in January 1998 for a Mass by Pope John Paul II, also attended by Castro, during the pontiff's historic visit. The papal trip was considered a watershed in Cuba's state-church relations after decades of marginalizing religion.
THE MIDDLE EAST
Centuries-Old Dispute at Church Ends
JERUSALEM -- More than 800 years since they were entrusted with the only key to one of Christendom's holiest sites, two Muslim families will lose their role as sole gatekeepers to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Israeli Tourism Ministry said.
Rival Christian sects that have spent centuries jealously safeguarding their corners of the shrine at the site where tradition says Jesus was buried and resurrected have come to an agreement on opening another door -- a breakthrough decision on one of the Holy Land's thorniest millennial disputes.
Tourism Ministry spokeswoman Orly Doron said the church's denominational leaders will decide by the end of June exactly where in the dark, cavernous church an exit door will be placed to ensure the safe passage of the millions of pilgrims expected to visit in 2000. The keys to the new door will be in the hands of church leaders, and not the Nuseibeh and Joudeh families who hold the key for the existing entrance, Doron said.
Suspect in Iran Dissidents' Deaths Kills Self
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- A key suspect in a spate of dissident killings in Iran last year committed suicide in a Tehran prison, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
The suspect, Saeed Emami, who killed himself by swallowing a hair removal substance, was one of 10 agents from Iran's intelligence services arrested in the deaths of five dissident writers and intellectuals late last year. The arrests led to the resignation of Iran's intelligence minister.
The case came amid a power struggle between hard-liners in the government and political reformists led by President Mohammed Khatemi. The agents suspected in the killings are widely believed to be supporters of the hard-liners. The ministry is controlled by the hard-line faction.
Indonesians Remember Sukarno
BLITAR, Indonesia -- Thousands of Indonesians rejoiced as election victory neared for opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri, on an anniversary charged with political and historical meaning.
Megawati's secular-nationalist Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle holds a strong lead in counting from the June 7 parliamentary election.
Yesterday was the 29th anniversary of the death of Megawati's father, Indonesia's founding president Sukarno. Thousands visited his grave.
Journalist Linked to Genocide Is Arrested
KIGALI, Rwanda -- Rwanda announced the arrest of a journalist who allegedly led a hate campaign on radio that fueled the 1994 genocide in which at least 500,000 people were slaughtered.
"Valerie Bemeriki was arrested in northwest Rwanda late last week. She will be prosecuted for genocide and crimes against humanity," Justice Minister Jean de Dieu Mucyo said.
Bemeriki is remembered by Rwandans for her inflammatory broadcasts on Radio Milles Collines that urged Hutus, the majority ethnic group, to slaughter ethnic Tutsis. Her name figures on a list of the 1,000 most wanted Rwandans who allegedly planned and led the genocide directed against the Tutsis and against any Hutus who sympathized with them.
FOR THE RECORD
JERUSALEM -- Palestinians will ask the United States to repeal laws restricting U.S. dealings with the Palestine Liberation Organization, a senior Palestinian official said. The Palestinians will make the proposal Wednesday when the U.S.-Palestinian bilateral committees dealing with political, social and economic issues meet in the West Bank town of Ramallah, Palestinian Minister of Planning Nabil Shaath said.
MEXICO CITY -- Hurricane Adrian swirled off Mexico's western Jalisco state, pounding much of the Pacific Coast with intense rain and huge waves that killed four Americans and at least two others.
KIGALI, Rwanda -- Congolese rebels said they would not agree to a proposed cease-fire ending 10 months of war without first meeting face to face with President Laurent Kabila.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"We've been waiting for this more than 100 years."
Raif Jashari, 47, as he joined a frenzied mob of newly returned ethnic Albanian refugees who descended on the abandoned Serb town of Grace -- Page A14