Powell Pushes for Peace
As U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell paid his maiden visit to the Balkans, a Russian peacekeeper in Kosovo was shot and killed while on patrol in the troubled province. The soldier was the first kfor member to die in a direct military attack. General Thorstein Skiaker, the Norwegian commander of the nato-led force, pledged a "robust and proportionate response" to the killing. Meanwhile, Powell met with Balkan foreign ministers in Macedonia. He promised that the U.S. would provide economic and political support as well as "military assistance as necessary." And in an effort to assuage European fears about a decreased U.S. role in the Balkans, he said that there is no timetable for the withdrawal of American forces from the region. Powell also reiterated the Bush Administration's endorsement of Skopje's efforts to forge a peaceful and lasting conclusion to the recent separatist uprising in Macedonia. He urged the government to expand its dialogue with the ethnic Albanian minority, which wants a bigger role in running the country. In Belgrade, ousted Yugoslav strongman Slobodan Milosevic was briefly hospitalized after complaining of chest pains. Doctors diagnosed hypertension.
In the Legal Net
A High Court judge in London ordered that twin babies who had been offered for adoption over the Internet be returned to the U.S., where the nine-month-old girls will be placed in foster care pending legal rulings in Missouri on their future. Judith and Alan Kilshaw, the Welsh couple who outbid a California pair for the babies, subsequently said they would not appeal the court decision in their battle for custody.
No Banana Split
The European Union and the U.S. agreed to settle their seven-year fight over E.U. banana imports. Under the compromise deal, the U.S. would lift nearly $200 million in yearly tariffs on a range of European goods. The E.U., which had afforded preferential treatment to banana imports from former European colonies in Africa and the Caribbean, would increase its import quotas on fruit from Latin American producers and major U.S. banana exporters.
Quality of Mercy
The Netherlands became the first country in the world to allow "mercy killings" after the Senate approved a law permitting euthanasia. It was the last legislative step in formalizing what has been a common but discreet practice for years. Terminally ill people with "lasting and unbearable suffering" must obtain the approval of their doctor as well as an independent consultant.
No End to the Violent Impasse
After several days of Palestinian mortar fire on Jewish villages, Israeli tanks and bulldozers rolled into the Khan Yunis refugee camp in the Gaza Strip to destroy alleged launch sites. Clashes broke out across the West Bank and Gaza in response to the Israeli move and the discovery of a car bomb apparently targeting a Palestinian activist. The ongoing violence prompted a joint U.S.-Russian call for peace.
Angered by job losses, rising inflation and soaring interest rates, thousands of Turks took to the streets of Ankara to call for the resignation of Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit's government. A minority clashed violently with police. On Saturday, Economy Minister Kemal Dervis responded with a plan to stabilize markets and secure foreign loans. The government also faces a hunger strike in its prisons, which has claimed nine lives so far. Saying they would be more vulnerable to abuse, the inmates oppose plans to move them from dormitory-style prisons to those with one- or three-man cells.
Death in Chechnya
A notorious top official in Chechnya's pro-Russian administration, Shamalu Deniyev, was killed in an explosion at a television studio in the town of Avtury, where he had been making a live broadcast. Deniyev, a prominent Islamic leader long held in contempt by many rebel factions in Chechnya, was deputy to the Moscow-installed administration chief, Akhmad Kadyrov.
Price of Dissent
More than 40 opposition activists were arrested in Iran on the orders of the hard-line Revolutionary Court. The crackdown, the second large-scale roundup of dissidents in less than a month, targeted members of the outlawed but long-tolerated Iran Freedom Movement. They are accused of attempting to overthrow the country's Islamic system. The hard-liners want to discourage moderate President Moham-med Khatami from seeking re-election in June.
A Soccer Match Results in Tragedy
A hotly anticipated soccer match between two top South African teams ended tragically as 43 people died and hundreds were injured in a stampede. Many fans were already squeezed two to a seat when guards at Johannesburg's Ellis Park closed the gates to the stadium. Some of the thousands left outside tried to get in by forcing the gates open and climbing fences. When the league-leading Orlando Pirates tied the Kaizer Chiefs 1-1, the crowd surged forward, broke down gates and pushed into the packed stands, resulting in the deadliest accident in South Africa sporting history.
Talk of Peace
The Presidents of Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Olusegun Obasanjo and Joseph Kabila, called on the international community to assist Congo in its quest for peace and national reconciliation. The conflict, ignited by a rebellion against Kabila's assassinated father, President Laurent Kabila, has involved forces backed by six countries. Nigeria also hosted a meeting of west African leaders to discuss how to end bloodshed in the area where Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea meet.
The Rwanda government has presented U.S. officials with an arrest warrant for former Prime Minister Pierre Rwigema, suspected of involvement in organizing the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Rwigema, who resigned in January 2000, is believed to be living in the Chicago area. Meanwhile, a Rwandan former U.N. development worker was arrested in Kosovo. Callixte Mbarushimana is suspected of having divulged the hiding places of Tutsi colleagues to Hutu militiamen during the genocide.
Free at Last
The last remaining foreign hostage in the Philippines, Jeffrey Schilling, was rescued on the island of Jolo following a raid on a jungle hideout of Abu Sayyaf guerrillas who had threatened to behead him. An official in Jolo said Schilling, an American who had been held for seven months, had been abandoned by the rebels.
Four days of rioting erupted in Cincinnati, Ohio, following the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a white policeman. Mayor Charles Luken declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew while the U.S. Justice Department mediated talks between city officials and community leaders. Police say the dead man, Timothy Thomas, was shot as he fled from Officer Stephen Roach, who had sought to arrest him for failing to appear in court on minor charges. Racial tensions have heightened in recent years in the city, where 15 black men have died at police hands since 1995 four since last November.