Bush Plans More Power for the People
President George W. Bush unveiled a national energy strategy aimed at countering what he described as the most serious power crisis in the U.S. since the 1970s. As Americans reeled from fuel-price hikes that took gasoline to more than $2 a gallon, Bush predicted the country would need 1,300 new gas, coal or nuclear power stations over the next 20 years as well as more oil exploration. While the plan offered some conservation incentives, critics pointed to the Adminstration's proposed opening of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling as an assault on the environment and accused the President of using the new policy to reward former colleagues and supporters in the oil industry. Bush maintained that his proposals would "light the way to a brighter future," and tackle the countrywide energy shortages that have already brought rolling blackouts to California. As U.N. Climate Change chief Jan Pronk called the plan a "disastrous development," Bush's supporters emphasized the conservation measures that will give tax breaks for fuel-efficient cars and energy-efficient homes.
Fighting flared in the troubled Presevo Valley as Yugoslav security forces clashed with ethnic Albanian rebels near the border with Kosovo. Government soldiers killed 14 insurgents while storming a rebel stronghold in the village of Oraovica, and a Serbian police officer was killed in a separate incident near Presevo. Near Kosovo's eastern border, the Macedonian government extended the deadline for ethnic Albanian separatists to surrender or face a major offensive. Thousands of civilians were reported to be leaving the area to avoid being caught in the crossfire.
Ex-Communist Leader Faces Court
More than 30 years after striking workers were gunned down in Baltic Sea shipyards, the man accused of ordering troops to open fire, General Wojciech Jaruzelski, appeared in court. He was charged, along with nine others, with responsibility for the deaths of 44 workers. After Jaruzelski's lawyers quit on Thursday the trial was postponed until June 19 for new lawyers to take on the defense.
Fighter Jets Strike
Israel unleashed F-16 fighter planes on West Bank targets for the first time since 1967. They were responding to a deadly attack only hours beforehand. A suicide bomber belonging to the militant Hamas group killed himself and six other people and injured more than 100 others when he detonated explosives outside a shopping mall in the coastal town of Netanya. The Palestinian Authority condemned the bombing and called on the Israeli government to show restraint, but the Israeli cabinet was already meeting to decide its furious response. The airstrikes and artillery bombardment killed at least 20 people and wounded more than 160.
Rejects U.N. Plan
Baghdad threatened to halt oil supplies to Jordan and Turkey if they agreed to a U.N. plan to replace sanctions on Iraq with tighter border controls. A British-drafted U.N. Security Council resolution to be debated this week proposes the end of all sanctions on exports to Iraq with the exception of weapons-related materials. Under the so-called "smart" sanctions plan, Iraq's illicit oil exports to its neighbors would be brought into a U.N.-controlled oil-for-food account. The move to ease sanctions on civilian goods was partly in response to pressure from Iraq's neighbors.
Child Soldiers Freed
Rebels released more than 100 child soldiers and agreed to begin disarming after U.N.-sponsored peace talks in Freetown. Representatives of the Revolutionary United Front said they would free another 200 of the estimated 5,000 children in their ranks. Pro-government militias also agreed to end hostilities in what is seen as the most hopeful step toward ending 10 years of civil war. Demobilization will begin in two northern towns immediately, and further locations by the end of the month.
Attacks on Business
Police arrested 26 self-styled "war veterans" for attempted extortion as the government sought to counter a climate of lawlessness that has disrupted business and international aid. Several companies, including a Danish candy firm, ceased operations and Canada called for sanctions after a series of attacks by ruling party supporters demanding money on behalf of laid-off workers. Home Affairs Minister John Nkomo said more police would be deployed to protect businesses from what he called "criminal elements."
Norwegian-led efforts to secure a truce between the government and Tamil Tiger rebels were complicated by a bomb attack on a rebel leader and demands by a leading Muslim party for a role in the peace process. Envoy Erik Solheim held talks with President Chandrika Kumaratunga and met Tamil leaders in rebel-held territory, but discussions ended without a breakthrough. Both sides agreed to continue deliberations to end the 18-year conflict.
Airborne Icebreakers Target River Lena
Four Sukhoi-24 aircraft were ordered into the air by Russian President Vladimir Putin last week to bomb ice floes in the River Lena, which had overflowed its banks and flooded large areas of eastern Siberia. The aircraft used 80 bombs to break up the packed ice over an 80-km stretch of the river. Backed up floodwaters had inundated the town of Lensk, above, in the Yakutia region, where 400 houses were washed away and another 1,700 damaged. Nearly 30,000 people were evacuated.
The trial of 37 people accused of crimes against the state began in the Ho Chi Minh City People's Court. The 37 are alleged to be part of an organization, called the Government of Free Vietnam, that operates out of Thailand and Cambodia. The group, run by American citizen Nguyen Huu Chanh, is accused of planning armed attacks and fomenting political instability in Vietnam. The defendants, some arrested as long as two years ago, face sentences ranging from 12 years to death. The verdict is expected this week. Police also arrested a Catholic priest, Father Nguyen Van Ly, on antigovernment charges.
Hong Kong's government ordered the "depopulation" of the territory's estimated 1.2 million poultry as a new and highly virulent strain of avian flu was discovered. All market poultry stalls were shut down, and imports of live birds from China were halted. The new H5N1 virus is genetically different from the virus that led to the slaughter of all Hong Kong's poultry and six human deaths in 1997.
A History of History
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said his government would make no revisions to history textbooks in response to charges of inaccuracy. China and South Korea have both demanded extensive changes to a textbook, approved by Tokyo this year, which Beijing says "advocates imperialism and whitewashes Japan's history of aggression." Seoul objected to the book's justification of Japan's 1910-45 occupation of the Korean peninsula and demanded that 35 passages be revised. Tokyo argues that the book, to be prescribed next year for children aged 13 to 15, was approved by an education commission.