GREECE In an Athens courtroom last week, 19 alleged members of the Marxist-Leninist terror group November 17 went on trial for a murderous, three-decade terror campaign that has claimed the lives of 23 people, starting with the 1975 assassination of CIA Athens station chief Richard Welch. The 19, including one woman, face a total of 2,000 counts of murder, bombing and bank robbery, among other charges. The alleged mastermind of the campaign, urbane French-born economist Alexandros Yiotopoulos, whose penchant for tweed jackets belies the image of a terrorist leader, rebuffed the allegations, calling them part of a "cheap Anglo-American plot." The suspected terrorists are being tried in the same bunker-like chamber where Greece's dreaded junta was tried nearly 30 years ago; the junta's brutal crushing of a student revolt on Nov. 17, 1973 gave the group its name. The non-jury trial is expected to last up to five months; 11 of the accused face life sentences. By Anthee Carassava/Athens
Ulster Talks Stall NORTHERN IRELAND Elections to the devolved government were postponed until May 29 after the British and Irish Prime Ministers failed to get Unionists and Sinn Fein to agree on a system for policing breaches of the 1998 Good Friday accord. London suspended the power-sharing administration last October due to allegations of I.R.A. spying inside the British government. Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern postponed the elections, originally scheduled for May 1, to allow the parties more time to reach agreement.
Going It Alone poland Prime Minister Leszek Miller defied calls by the opposition Civic Forum to hold early elections following the collapse of the coalition led by his Democratic Left Alliance. The split with the Peasant Party (which refused to back a road-tax bill) leaves Miller 19 seats short of a majority in the 460-member lower house of parliament.
Death's Big Comeback MIDDLE EAST Renewed suicide bombing and the installation of a new Israeli hard-line coalition set back hopes for peace in the region. A member of the Palestinian group Hamas killed 15 people and injured 40 when he blew himself up on a bus in the port city of Haifa, the first such attack in two months. Shortly afterward, 11 Palestinians were killed and more than 100 wounded in a raid by Israeli troops on the Gaza refugee camp of Jabalya. Israeli officials denied accusations by the Palestinian Authority that the raid had been a revenge attack. In further violence, Palestinian gunmen killed two Israelis in a West Bank settlement, and a Hamas leader died in an assault by Israeli attack helicopters. Meanwhile, under Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's new Cabinet, which includes groups that support the settlement movement, Israeli troops seized part of the Gaza Strip to create a "security zone."
Killer Blast THE PHILIPPINES A bomb that exploded at Davao City airport in the southern island of Mindanao killed 21 people, including an American missionary. Authorities said that one of the dead was a member of the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), who they believed was carrying the bomb, which exploded prematurely. The MILF, the country's biggest Muslim rebel group, denied responsibility for the attack.
Face-Off in the Sky NORTH KOREA The U.S. began to dispatch long-range bombers to the Pacific island of Guam following the interception of an American spy plane in international air space by North Korean fighter jets. Tensions between Pyongyang and Washington, stemming from U.S. concerns over North Korea's nuclear-weapons ambitions, continued to rise.
tough talk:Saddam's envoy Izzat, above, lashed out with a typically Iraqi put-down
INSULT OF THE WEEK "Curse Be Upon Your Mustache!" An Iraqi diplomat unleashes a hairy bit of invective
Decorum was shattered at the Arab summit in Doha last week when Izzat Ibrahim, the Iraqi envoy, lashed out at Kuwaiti diplomat Mohammed Sabah al-Salem: "Shut up, you monkey ... Curse be upon your mustache." Those are fighting words in a region where men have been cultivating whiskers since the Ottoman Empire. More than a badge of manhood, the mustache is practically a totem: to seal a deal Iraqis literally swear by them; to compliment a man they say "an eagle could land on his mustache." During the Iraq-Iran war, facial hair was an extension of the military uniform, distinguishing Iraqi soldiers from Iranians, who favor full beards. Last week, Saddam exhorted his troops with this line: "Iraq is attached to your mustache." Sounds like that could hurt.
Smacked down: Despite Izzat's tirade, Kuwaiti envoy Sabah
al-Salem, above, kept a stiff upper lip
MEANWHILE IN AUSTRALIA Going Gallic
Jacques Chirac's antiwar stance has earned him popularity at home and with supporters abroad. The southern coastal city of Wollongong is threatening to "defect" to France to protest its own government's support for military action against Iraq. City councilmen will make their case this week to the French Consul General in Sydney.