Relief Workers Bring Supplies to Vietnam
TAM KY, Vietnam--Thousands of soldiers and relief workers flew over and boated through Vietnam's flood-ravaged central provinces yesterday, delivering emergency supplies to some of the 1 million people who have lost their homes.
Torrential rains triggered by a cold spell have dumped more than six feet of water in some areas since Thursday, flooding hundreds of thousands of homes. At least 114 people have died.
The central provinces, home to 7.5 million people, had only just begun recovering from devastating floods last month. The area include some of Vietnam's best-known destinations, from the white sands of China Beach to the ancient port city of Hoi An.
Indonesia Will Not Prosecute Generals
JAKARTA, Indonesia--Indonesia's top generals will not be held accountable for atrocities committed by their troops, the defense minister said, dashing the hopes of many that the new government would take on the powerful military. Juwono Sudarsono, the first civilian defense minister in nearly 50 years, acknowledged that soldiers committed many crimes during three decades of authoritarian rule but said their superiors will escape prosecution.
Macedonia Confirms Election Violence
SKOPJE, Macedonia--Police had to intervene 23 times to stop skirmishes during Sunday's presidential balloting, the interior minister said in the first official confirmation of election violence.
Charges have been filed against 14 people. Interior Minister Pavle Trajanov, who heads Macedonia's police, told state-run radio that more charges are expected. At least nine people were injured in the incidents, he said.
The Social Democrats, the party of defeated candidate Tito Petkovski, filed complaints over voting procedures. They said there were irregularities in 224 of 230 polling stations. This is the second time the election results have been contested. The final round of Macedonia's presidential voting was first held Nov. 14. But officials decided to repeat it in some precincts.
Nine Tons of Cocaine Seized Off Mexico
MEXICO CITY--U.S. Coast Guard and Mexican navy vessels seized a fishing boat off the Pacific Coast of Mexico on Friday with nine tons of cocaine stashed in hidden compartments, the second-largest maritime cocaine bust ever by Mexican authorities and the third-largest in Coast Guard history, officials from both countries said today.
The discovery of the cocaine bricks on a shark fishing boat 75 miles west of the Pacific Coast resort town of Mazatlan buttressed trends that have alarmed U.S. law enforcement officials of dramatic increases in drug shipments moving through Mexico.
An estimated 70 percent of all illegal drugs entering the United States come through Mexico, according to U.S. law enforcement agents.
Graft Alleged in Menem's Argentina
BUENOS AIRES--President Carlos Menem played down accusations of money laundering and graft during his administration that could further taint his 10 years in power just three days before it ends. Argentina has been rocked by recent allegations that both Mexico's powerful Juarez drug cartel and the widow of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar have been laundering money in Argentina.
The revelations got closer to Menem this week when the opposition Congressman Juan Pablo Cafiero said the late Alberto Uabran, tycoon and suspected mobster, laundered dirty government money and that a longtime Menem aide had stashed about $200 million in a secret Cayman Islands bank account.
U.N. Peacekeepers Arrive in Sierra Leone
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone--U.N. peacekeepers from India came to Sierra Leone as human rights observers reported mounting rebel atrocities against civilians. The Indian contingent arrived eight days after 130 Kenyan soldiers flew in to begin what is the largest U.N. peacekeeping mission in Africa in two years.
The peacekeepers are responsible for maintaining the peace accord between Sierra Leone's government and rebel groups that ended an eight-year civil war.
THE MIDDLE EAST
Kuwaiti Prince Goes to U.S. for Treatment
KUWAIT CITY--Kuwait's crown prince and prime minister, Saad Abdullah Sabah, left for the United States to undergo medical treatment. No information on his health has been released, but Sabah, 69, is known to suffer from colon problems. Last week he looked drained as he entered parliament for a weekly session. His walk was slow and deliberate and he was flanked by helpers.
In 1997, part of his colon was removed. He has frequently gone to Britain and the United States for treatment.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"We weren't living in paradise before, I'll admit that. But it was never as seemingly hopeless as this."
-- Marcelino Palentini, Roman Catholic bishop of Jujuy, Argentina, on the growing poverty in his region --Page A1
CAPTION: A man navigates his boat in central Vietnam's Quang Nam province, where relief workers arrived yesterday. Heavy downpours over the past few days caused flooding that has killed at least 114 people.