India Declares End of Kashmir Hostilities
KARGIL, India -- India's defense minister declared the end of fighting in Kashmir following the withdrawal of Muslim guerrillas from Himalayan battle zones under an agreement with Pakistan.
Indian troops reclaimed key mountains and advanced to the 1972 cease-fire line with Pakistan in all but one of four battle zones. The soldiers planned to reoccupy the fourth zone soon. Army planes flew overhead to verify the withdrawal of the last of the guerrillas.
India had given Pakistan a Friday deadline -- later extended to early yesterday -- for the insurgents to retreat from key peaks they captured in May on India's side of the cease-fire line. Both sides agreed to stop fighting during the withdrawal.
Indonesian Parties Ratify Election Results
JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Political parties ratified the results of Indonesia's national election, nearly six weeks after voters cast ballots in their country's first free elections in 44 years.
With the parties accepting the results of the June 7 election, the stage is set for the formation of parliament and the selection of the country's next president.
The ballot gave a convincing victory to opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri's Indonesian Democratic Party for Struggle, which won 33.7 percent of the popular vote. Megawati, the daughter of Indonesia's founding president, is the front-runner in November's presidential election. The ruling Golkar party got just over one-fifth of the vote.
E. Timor Annexation Anniversary Observed
DILI, Indonesia -- Anti-independence fighters and government officials commemorated the anniversary of Indonesia's 1976 forced annexation of East Timor, just weeks before a U.N.-organized vote on the territory's future.
The provincial governor appealed for calm before the August ballot, which will determine whether mainly Roman Catholic East Timor will become an autonomous region within Muslim-dominated Indonesia or break away altogether.
S. African Miners Protest Gold Reserve Sale
JOHANNESBURG -- About 3,000 South African gold miners and mine owners demonstrated at the Swiss and British embassies in Pretoria, demanding that those countries abandon plans to sell gold reserves.
By selling gold, developed nations force down gold prices and cripple a key industry in developing countries like South Africa, the protesters said. About 103,000 South African gold miners have lost their jobs since 1997, and an additional 80,000 job losses are anticipated, the statement said.
World gold prices have dropped 13 percent since Switzerland, Britain and the International Monetary Fund announced plans in recent months to sell thousands of tons of gold reserves over the coming years.
Ecuador Ends State of Emergency
QUITO, Ecuador -- The Ecuadoran government, after reaching an agreement with protesting Indians, said it lifted a state of emergency imposed last week to fight a crippling 12-day transport strike that ended Friday.
The lifting of the state of emergency was among several concessions made by the government to the Indians, including unfreezing their organizations' bank accounts.
The Indians protested a 13 percent increase in fuel prices, which President Jamil Mahuad agreed on Wednesday night to roll back to its June 30 level.
Mexicans Criticize Salinas Sentence Change
MEXICO CITY -- An appeals court decision to halve a 50-year murder sentence being served by the brother of a former president was greeted with dismay by Mexicans skeptical about the autonomy of their legal system.
Banner headlines in every newspaper proclaimed the news that Mexico's maximum prison sentence had been reduced by 23 years for Raul Salinas, convicted in January of masterminding the 1994 assassination of a top ruling party politician.
Raul Salinas is the brother of vilified former president Carlos Salinas, who shocked Mexicans with a surprise private visit home last month. The ex-president has been living in self-imposed exile in Ireland.
THE MIDDLE EAST
Iranian Students Say One Died in Protests
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- One student died in Iran's recent pro-democracy protests and about 1,400 people were arrested, student leaders said in their first estimate of how many demonstrators were detained.
The announcement by the Council of Student Protesters could raise the official death toll in the protests to three. The students did not provide further information on the latest reported death. Authorities have said that only two people, a soldier and a cleric, were killed in the unrest.
The students did not say how they arrived at their count of 1,400 arrests, and the government has not provided figures. The unrest began when police stormed a Tehran University dormitory on July 8, hours after students rallied against the banning of a liberal newspaper. One person was killed and 20 were injured in the clash, which hard-line clerics apparently backed.
The next day thousands of students protested in the streets of Tehran, and within days the demonstrations swelled and spread to eight other cities. Riot police began cracking down last Monday.
Kuwaiti Leaders Back Women's Rights Law
KUWAIT CITY -- Kuwait's leaders urged the country's newly elected parliament to approve a controversial law granting women full political rights.
Crown Prince Saad Abdullah Sabah called on the opposition-dominated assembly, in its first session since general elections on July 3, to approve some 60 decrees, issued during parliament's two-month dissolution, to boost "mutual confidence."
The fate of the decrees will become clear Tuesday when parliament meets to complete the election of various panels that could review them before they are voted on by the house.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
"The outside world would not give us what they spent in one day to fight for the people in Kosovo. . . . We were forgotten because we are black and in Africa."
-- Foday, a resident of Freetown, Sierra Leone