Sudanese President Solidifies Power
KHARTOUM, Sudan--President Omar Bashir shook up his government yesterday in an effort to consolidate power in a long-simmering dispute with a hard-line rival in the governing National Congress Party.
Ten of the 25 cabinet ministers were removed, while the rest were retained in various posts in the new government. Bashir also dismissed all state governors and senior government advisers. Analysts said the move, which packed the government with Bashir loyalists, is likely to undermine further the position of parliament speaker Hassan Turabi, a party leader who advocates imposition of strict Islamic law in Sudan and who has long been seen as the country's most powerful politician.
Turabi suffered a serious blow last month when Bashir declared a state of emergency and dissolved parliament, leaving Turabi without a power base. Bashir had accused Turabi of trying to undermine the presidency.
Rights Group Cites Sierra Leone Atrocities
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone--Human Rights Watch, a New York-based international watchdog group, said atrocities against civilians are still taking place in Sierra Leone despite an accord signed six months ago to end a civil war that killed 20,000 people dead and left 2 million homeless.
The group said in a letter to a committee of West African countries overseeing implementation of the accord that since August it has documented "scores of abuses including murder, mutilation, abduction, rape, massive looting and the displacement of civilians." The letter added that "acts of lawlessness and impunity by rebel soldiers, including extortion, petty theft and acts of intimidation against business people, civilians and expatriates within the Freetown area are routine."
The organization called on the committee to give equal attention to human rights as to the disarmament of combatants.
THE MIDDLE EAST
Turkish Leader Hints at Security Excesses
KONYA, Turkey--Turkey has denied suggestions that the government secretly backed radical Islamic guerrillas suspected of at least 33 killings--mainly of Kurds thought to have had separatist sympathies--but President Suleyman Demirel appeared to concede that some security officials may have exceeded their powers in their fight against Kurdish insurgents.
Police in southern Turkey have discovered the remains of two more men thought to have been slain by the radical Hezbollah group, bringing the number of corpses uncovered since last week to 33. Hezbollah, which is not related to the Lebanese Shiite Muslim group of the same name, is based in Kurdish-populated areas of southeastern Turkey and is violently opposed to the main Kurdish nationalist party there, saying its Marxist views are counter to Islam.
"The state does not commit murders or have murders carried out," Demirel told reporters Sunday. "There may be forces belonging to the state acting illegitimately, but they are committing a crime. . . . The first duty of the state is to eliminate them."
Colombian President Heads for U.S.
BOGOTA, Colombia--President Andres Pastrana left for Washington on a trip he hopes will help galvanize support for an aid package that would deepen U.S. involvement in Colombia's war against drug traffickers and leftist rebels and thus prop up its shaky democracy.
The visit comes as Colombia continues to battle attacks on government troops by Marxist rebels--who already control up to 40 percent of the country--mushrooming drug production and the country's deepest recession this century. The $1.6 billion emergency U.S. aid package, unveiled by President Clinton earlier this month, is designed to help fight what U.S. Army Secretary Louis Caldera has described as "explosive growth" in the production of cocaine and heroin in Colombia.
Japanese Cloners Score Bull's-Eye
TOKYO--Japanese scientists have produced a clone of a bull that is itself a clone--the first time such a procedure has been successful with a large cloned animal, researchers said. The calf, born Sunday, is part of a project to study the life expectancy and aging of cloned animals, scientists said.
The three generations of genetically identical bulls--the original animal and the two clones--are being monitored at the Kagoshima Prefectural Cattle Breeding Development Institute in southern Japan.
Taliban Says It Won't Give Up Bin Laden
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan--Afghanistan's ruling Taliban movement said it will not bow to mounting U.S.-led international pressure to expel terrorism suspect Osama bin Laden.
"We will never ask him to go," Taliban Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil told reporters after a two-day visit to Pakistan. Bin Laden, a fugitive Saudi millionaire who has been based in Afghanistan in recent years, is suspected of masterminding the fatal bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa and of other terrorist attacks.
Chinese Governor Targets Smuggling
BEIJING--Xi Jinping, acting governor of Fujian, the province at the center of China's biggest smuggling scandal in five decades, pledged to the provincial legislature that he will deliver "harsh blows" against the illegal trade. The legislature is expected to confirm Xi in his post during its current one-week session.
Nearly 200 people have been implicated in the smuggling scandal, including the estranged wife of Jia Qinglin, one of 22 members of the Communist Party's ruling Politburo and a close ally of President Jiang Zemin.
Chinese Court Sentences Separatists
BEIJING--A court in China's restive Muslim northwest sentenced five people to be executed for offensives associated with a violent separatist group, a state-run newspaper reported.
The Intermediate People's Court in Urumqi, capital of the northwestern Xinjiang region, convicted 13 defendants last week of separatism, murder, robbery and illegal dealing in weapons and ammunition, the paper reported. The court sentenced five to death, two to life imprisonment and the six others to prison terms ranging from 16 months to 13 years, the paper said. Those sentenced to die or to life terms were apparently Uighurs, members of Xinjiang's largest Muslim ethnic group.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"If these people were respectable citizens of our land, as Kohl says, they would have freed him from this word of honor a long time ago."
-- Eckart von Klaeden, a Christian Democratic legislator in Berlin --Page A20