The outbreak of foot and mouth disease showed up last week on farms in the Netherlands and Ireland, while a second case was identified in France. When veterinarians identified the disease in cows and goats at two farms near the eastern town of Olst, Dutch agriculture authorities ordered the slaughter of 20,000 animals within a 1-km radius. The source of infection was traced to cattle imported from Ireland, which confirmed its first cases in County Louth north of Dublin. In Britain dozens of cases were confirmed daily and 514 cases had been certified by week's end. Farmers' gloom deepened as the government's chief scientific adviser feared that the epidemic could spiral out of control and half of Britain's livestock may have to be slaughtered. Late in the week the E.U. approved limited use of vaccination to fight the spread of the disease.
Macedonian security forces struggled to contain the insurgency by ethnic Albanian rebels as fighting spread to the center of Tetovo and the outskirts of the the capital, Skopje. Government troops shot dead two civilians in Tetovo after they appeared to hurl a handgrenade at a police checkpoint, and Macedonian artillery fire injured 10 civilians in the hills above Tetovo. Rebel leaders observed an overnight cease-fire but later injured two policemen in separate mortar and grenade attacks near the villages of Gracane and Caska. The U.S. said it would send spy planes to monitor rebel activities but would not commit additional troops to the Balkans.
The Vatican launched an inquiry into the sexual abuse of nuns by priests and other clergy in Africa and elsewhere. Spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls acknowledged the allegations, made in the U.S. National Catholic Reporter, but said the problem was a limited one. The article contained signed statements from nuns in 23 countries claiming priests and missionaries forced them into sex, in some cases demanding they take the contraceptive pill or have abortions.
Tit for Tat
Moscow ordered the expulsion of 50 American embassy personnel in retaliation for the earlier U.S. ouster of 50 Russian diplomats accused of spying. The reciprocal moves recalled the darkest days of the cold war and suggested that relations will cool during the conservative Bush administration. The expelled Russians included six diplomats alleged to have been the "handlers" of fbi agent Robert Hanssen, arrested in February on charges of spying for the Kremlin.
No Forced Peace
Violence flared again as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon returned to Israel following talks in Washington with U.S. President George W. Bush. A fact-finding mission led by former U.S. Senator George Mitchell began its visit to the region, holding discussions with Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian negotiator Hanan Ashrawi. The committee, created last October, is seeking ways of reducing Israeli-Palestinian violence, which has now cost more than 400 lives. But Bush said the U.S would not "force peace," and the cia would no longer act as a broker in the region.
The Zimbabwe government sacked the editors of two state-controlled newspapers and rejected a Commonwealth plan to send a delegation to Harare, as President Robert Mugabe seeks to tighten his grip ahead of elections next year. The chairman of Zimpapers, the government-controlled company that publishes the Herald and Sunday Mail, was dismissed two weeks ago; earlier this year a bomb destroyed the printing press of the opposition Daily News. U.K. Foreign Secretary Robin Cook warned that Zimabwe risked isolation from the Commonwealth by refusing to cooperate with the proposed ministerial visit.
Pakistan's military government arrested 22 opposition leaders and more than 1,500 activists during a nationwide crackdown in anticipation of pro-democracy rallies. In line with a ban on public gatherings, police barricaded a proposed venue for a rally planned to coincide with the country's national day. The arrests were made as Pakistanis voted in 20 district elections trumpeted as a step toward restoring democracy.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Rebel soldiers in Papua New Guinea ended a week-long mutiny over army reform. Thousands of soldiers and students held demonstrations in the capital, Port Moresby, after Prime Minister Mekere Morautu initially refused to meet with the rebels. They were protesting plans to halve the size of the army as part of economic reforms backed by the imf and the World Bank. After a meeting between their leaders and Morautu, the soldiers agreed to hand back weapons they had seized but demanded that the government expel Australian and other foreign advisers and recall parliament.
Department of Agriculture officials seized flocks of sheep from two Vermont farmers to test for a version of bse, or "mad cow" disease. The sheep, some of which were imported from Belgium and the Netherlands in 1996, tested positive in July for transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (tse), a class of neurological illness that includes scrapie and bse. Officials said they would take the sheep to Iowa to be tested and killed.
Zapatistas to Talk
Zapatista rebels postponed their return to the southern state of Chiapas after Congress agreed to hear their case. Earlier in the week the rebel group prepared to leave Mexico City after being refused a platform in the capital's legislative chambers. Congress then invited the rebels to speak from the podium. "The door to dialogue is beginning to open," said rebel leader Subcomandante Marcos. But he rejected an offer to meet with President Vicente Fox, saying the government had not met demands for peace talks, including the release of prisoners and the closure of miltary bases in Chiapas.
New Assassinations, New Protests
Two gunmen walked into a bar in Lasarte in northern Spain last week and shot dead the town's deputy mayor, Froilán Elespe. Earlier, a car bomb in Roses, in eastern Spain, killed a Catalan police officer. No one doubted the murders were the work of the Basque separatist group eta. In towns and villages across Spain thousands of demonstrators took to the streets to protest the killings.
A Russian Star Makes a Splash
At speeds of up to 300 km a second, the Mir space station plunged into the Pacific early Friday. Despite anxieties in Japan and Australia that the dying craft could miss its trajectory and hit land, Russian ground controllers successfully steered it to its final watery resting place some 2,900 km southwest of the Pitcairn Islands. Most of the giant 136-ton structure, which had been in orbit since 1986, burned up as it re-entered the earth's atmosphere. About six fragments survived to splash down.