EUROPE

Armenian Executive Charged in Attack

YEREVAN, Armenia--A top Armenian television executive has been charged with helping organize an attack in parliament that killed Armenia's premier and seven other top officials.

Arutun Arutunian, deputy director of Armenian national television, assisted the five men who carried out the shooting, a spokesman in the military prosecutor's office said.

Arutunian was charged Friday, two days after he was detained. In Armenia, suspects can be held for 96 hours without being charged.

In the Oct. 27 attack, gunmen burst into the parliament chamber and opened fire, killing Prime Minister Vazgen Sarkisian, parliament speaker Karen Demirchian and six others. Nine other people were wounded. The gunmen took 40 legislators hostage and held them overnight before surrendering.

France Said to Plot Against Milosevic

BELGRADE--The Yugoslav government accused opposition leader Vuk Draskovic of conspiring with the French intelligence service to try to topple President Slobodan Milosevic.

"Draskovic had several talks with the French intelligence service . . . and in 1999 offered to cooperate with any foreign service for an adequate amount of money," Information Minister Goran Matic said.

Matic had alleged previously that foreign powers were plotting to oust Milosevic, but yesterday was the first time he implicated Draskovic, the leader of the Serbian Renewal Movement, in his allegations.

Draskovic aide Predrag Simic dismissed the allegations, which he said were aimed at undermining a meeting of opposition leaders. The leaders are expected to forge a joint strategy against Milosevic on Monday.

French foreign affairs officials refused to comment.

AFRICA

Cleric Jailed for Threatening U.S. Embassy

HARARE, Zimbabwe--A Muslim cleric from South Africa has been charged with threatening to bomb the U.S. Embassy here, a state newspaper reported.

The embassy was closed to the public after Mohammed Yesudas, 28, from the South African city of Durban, allegedly threatened Dec. 24 to blow up a vehicle near the mission.

Yesudas was arrested Jan. 1 and charged with threatening to commit acts of terrorism, the Herald reported. He is accused of going to the heavily fortified embassy and telling a security guard he was a commando trained in Afghanistan and planned to detonate explosives packed in a vehicle.

Security at the two-story mission has been fortified since the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed in 1998. The United States suspects that Osama bin Laden, a Saudi who has been hiding in Afghanistan, masterminded those attacks.

Kenyan Court Divorces 2 Women

NAIROBI, Kenya--A court in western Kenya has granted an 80-year-old woman a divorce from her wife on grounds of cruelty, a newspaper said. The Kisii tribe acknowledges marriages between women in instances when a widow is too old to reproduce and has never borne a son.

Nyoero Ongori had accused Mary Orang'o of assaulting her and molesting her daughters since the two were married in the district of Kisii eight years ago, the Kenya Times reported.

Among the Kisiis and several other Kenyan tribes, only sons can carry on the family name and inherit property. The court ordered Orang'o to vacate the other woman's home in the village of Bomwanda immediately.

ASIA

Fighting Subsides in Eastern Indonesia

AMBON, Indonesia--Two weeks of Muslim-Christian fighting in Indonesia's eastern islands abated during Islamic religious holidays.

Troubled Maluku and North Maluku provinces were quiet as Muslims prayed on the holiday of Eid al-Fitr and celebrated in the streets under heavy security. The holiday marks the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting.

"Last year the violence started on Eid al-Fitr. Let us hope this year's celebration means an end to the fighting," said Sanusi, a Muslim cleric in Maluku's capital, Ambon.

Despite calls for peace for the holiday, hundreds of soldiers, backed up by armored personnel carriers, stood guard across the badly damaged town in case fighting broke out.

Nearly a year ago, a minor scuffle in Ambon sparked wider clashes, touching off a string of violence that has left at least 1,800 dead.

Philippine Leader Suspends Reform Plan

MANILA--Yielding to widespread opposition, the leader of the Philippines said he would suspend one of his administration's top priorities, removing constitutional restrictions on foreign ownership.

President Joseph Estrada, whose popularity has plunged in recent months, also announced changes in policies and personnel aimed at rejuvenating his administration.

Estrada had vowed repeatedly not to abandon his goal of amending the constitution to remove restrictions on foreign ownership of land and key industries, saying they impede investment in the country.

But many Filipinos contend that modifying the charter, ratified a year after the ouster of dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, could endanger its democratic provisions. Tens of thousands of people demonstrated to protest the proposed changes last year.

Buddhist Leader, 14, Meets Dalai Lama

DHARMSALA, India--Still recuperating from an eight-day trek across the Himalayas to escape Chinese-ruled Tibet, a teenage Buddhist leader met with the Dalai Lama for the second time since arriving here Wednesday.

Monks lined up to present the 17th Karmapa Lama, who is 14, with mustard-yellow wool shawls, mushrooms and other gifts while the Dalai Lama's guard service and Indian police watched closely.

The Dalai Lama's administration in exile made its first public comment about the defection. It has been quiet on the subject for fear of reprisals in Tibet and out of consideration for India, which fought a war with China in 1962 but has recently enjoyed progress in trade relations.

"He is 14 years old and he has undertaken a long and difficult journey. He is not talking properly. He is very tired and very restless," said Kalong Tashi Wangdi, minister for religion and culture in the Dalai Lama's administration."

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"The world came to a standstill 10 days ago."

--Herve de Talhouet-Roy, French forest owner, on storms that ravaged his trees

--Page A21