THE MIDDLE EAST
Palestinian Dissidents Hold Firm
JERUSALEM--Despite a string of arrests and the threat of further punishment, Palestinian dissidents refused to retract a stinging manifesto that blames Yasser Arafat for widespread government corruption.
Infuriated by the allegations, the Palestinian leader moved swiftly to silence his critics. He ordered 11 signers of the manifesto arrested hours after the document was released Sunday, and urged the Palestinian Legislative Council to lift the immunity of the nine others, all lawmakers, at a special session Wednesday.
Nabil Amr, an Arafat adviser, said the lawmakers had refused to back down or sign a retraction and apology. "This is a matter of principle," said legislator Rawiya Shawa, a signatory from Gaza City. "We are not seeking to create a revolution, but we seek to expedite the improvement of the management in the Palestinian Authority institutions."
Winnie Mandela Said to Order Killings
JOHANNESBURG--A convicted murderer testified that Winnie Madikizela-Mandela ordered at least two killings in 1988, opening the possibility that she could face new criminal charges.
Madikizela-Mandela, ex-wife of former president Nelson Mandela, was shown on television shaking her head as she listened to her former chief bodyguard, Jerry Richardson, during a hearing of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Madikizela-Mandela, who has previously denied involvement in any killings, consulted with her lawyer during the hearing but did not comment publicly.
She was convicted in 1991 of kidnapping and being an accessory to an assault on four young men at her Soweto home in December 1988, and she paid a $3,200 fine. A youth, Moketsi "Stompie" Seipei, was found dead a few days after the assault.
Richardson, who was convicted of killing Seipei, yesterday repeated his claim that Madikizela-Mandela ordered him to kill the 14-year-old boy because he was a suspected police informant, the South African Press Association reported.
Motive Offered for South African Bombing
CAMPS BAY, South Africa--The weekend bombing of a crowded pizza restaurant near Cape Town was aimed at disrupting millennium celebrations and a religious conference, South Africa's top security official, Steve Tshwete, said.
President Thabo Mbeki pledged in a statement that those responsible for the "heinous" attack Sunday in the beach resort of Camps Bay would be "pursued, captured and punished to the full extent of the law."
Seven of the 43 people who were injured in the bombing remained hospitalized, including victims who lost limbs. The bombing was similar to others in the Cape Town area, most notably the unsolved August 1998 bombing of a Planet Hollywood restaurant at Cape Town's waterfront, which killed two people and injured 26.
Guinea-Bissau Voting Called Fair
BISSAU, Guinea-Bissau-- Guinea-Bissau's elections to restore civilian rule were largely peaceful and fair, international observers said, despite widespread logistical problems that caused voting to be extended an extra day.
A joint communique by about 100 observers from the United Nations, West African states and other nations made no mention of incidents in at least two neighborhoods of the capital, Bissau, in which angry residents burned down polling stations and barricaded streets when election officials and materials failed to arrive. Police eventually dispersed the rioters with tear gas.
Hong Kong Democracy Party Edges Rival
HONG KONG--Hong Kong's pro-democracy party was dealt a major blow after it barely managed to win more seats than its pro-Beijing rivals in the territory's first local elections under Chinese rule.
The votes for the 18 district councils were seen as a test of how political factions have fared since the former British colony was returned to Chinese rule in July 1997.
Overall, the key opposition Democratic Party won 86 of the 390 seats while the pro-China Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong took 83. In 1994, the Democrats won 75 seats to the DAB's 37.
Jakarta Sends Troops to Spice Islands
JAKARTA, Indonesia--Indonesia moved to bring its bloodied eastern Spice Islands under control, sending hundreds of extra police and troops into the capital Ambon and putting the military in charge of restoring security after new religious clashes.
At the other end of the volatile archipelago, separatist rebels warned of a revolution in the restive province of Aceh, and dismissed as irrelevant a pledge by Southeast Asian leaders to support Indonesia's efforts to remain united.
Spain Urges Isolation of Basque Guerrillas
MADRID--The Spanish government called on political parties to isolate the Basque separatist group ETA after the guerrillas declared an end to their 14-month-old cease-fire. The government warned that the armed group, fighting for an independent Basque state since the late 1960s, was weakened but still dangerous.
Industry Minister Josep Pique, the government's spokesman, said there would be no new talks with ETA after its announcement Sunday that it was resuming its armed struggle. "Violence will lead nowhere, they have to understand that," Pique told state-run National Radio.
Instead, he said, the government needed to intensify talks with Spain's democratic political parties to ensure a united front against ETA, or Basque Homeland and Liberty, which has been blamed for the deaths of 800 people in its three-decade fight.
Oil for Opposition Serbian City Is Blocked
NIS, Yugoslavia--Serbian police released the head of the heating plant in opposition-held Nis, but customs officials continued to block delivery of heating oil designated by the European Union for the town.
Radislav Zlatanovic was arrested Friday after he turned off most of the heating in the city of 300,000, saying the delay in the arrival of the fuel, which crossed into Serbia on Wednesday, meant his plant had run out of oil.
The EU, which has a fuel embargo on Serbia, approved deliveries to opposition-held Nis and Pirot as part of a pilot winter heating project to boost the political opposition trying to oust Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"If you want to see the Great Wall, you'll go to the mainland. We're not going to build one here."
-- Mike Rowse, Hong Kong's commissioner of tourism who negotiated a deal allowing the construction of a Disneyland in the city --Page A22