WORLD

World NOTES

September 9 1996
WORLD

World NOTES

September 9 1996

World NOTES

WORLD

A TOUGH MOLESTER LAW

As a world congress to fight the sexual exploitation of children convened in Stockholm, California legislators passed a controversial bill requiring “chemical castration” for child molesters. The bill, which Gov. Pete Wilson said he would sign, requires that second-time offenders undergo regular injections to kill their sex drive, or submit to surgical castration.

ARAFAT'S WARNING

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat warned Israel of a new Arab uprising if the hardline government of Binyamin Netanyahu did not move faster to make peace. Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem held a four-hour protest strike after Israeli authorities announced they would expand Jewish settlements on the West Bank and demolished a Palestinian youth centre in East Jerusalem.

KOREAN DEATH SENTENCE

Former South Korean president Chun Doo Hwan was sentenced to death for his role in the 1979 coup that brought him to power and a 1980 massacre of pro-democracy protesters in the southern city of Kwangju. His successor, Roh Tae Woo, was handed 22 years in prison for his part in the same events. The two were also convicted of accepting bribes. Chun’s lawyer said he would appeal the death sentence, a process that could take months.

ARCTIC CRASH

A Russian airliner carrying Russian and Ukrainian coal miners to a remote Arctic island in Norway crashed into a mountain as it was about to land, killing all 141 people aboard. The Tupelov Tu-154 plane hit snowbound Opera Mountain as it was approaching the airport on Spitsbergen, an island 800 km north of the Norwegian mainland.

MEXICAN TURBULENCE

A leftist guerrilla group launched a wave of attacks on security forces in five central and southern states, causing turbulence on Mexico’s financial markets. Authorities said 13 people died and at least 28 were wounded in the fighting, the worst since an uprising by Indian rebels in the southern state of Chiapas in 1994. The hit-and-run raids came three days before President Ernesto Zedillo was due to give his Sept. 1 state of the nation address.

BOSNIA CLASH: A tense confrontation between Bosnian Serb

policemen and NATO troops worsened the political atmosphere as the country prepared for national elections on Sept. 14. NATO’s IFOR peacekeepers detained the 65 police after they beat and then fired on Muslims who had returned to their village of Mahala, on the Serbian side of Bosnia’s ethnic dividing line.The violence was the worst since the Dayton peace agreement was signed last December. Angry Serbs then held six UN officials in a town nearby until the policemen were released. Ethnically fuelled problems with voter registration last week led European officials supervising the elections to cancel voting for municipal officers.

'The war is over/ says Lebed

{{T"hope this is our final withdrawal of the I war,” said a weary Russian colonel, who Agave his name only as Vladimir. He was one of thousands of Russian troops who last week streamed out of Grozny, capital of the breakaway republic of Chechnya, in the wake of a peace agreement that actually seemed to be working. Thousands of Chechen rebels also left the city, which shortly before had been torn by the worst battles since Moscow deployed its troops against the separatists in late 1994. Amid vicious political infighting in the Kremlin, national security chief Alexander Lebed had worked out the initial pact with Chechen leaders. Then, after more talks at week’s end, the Grozny colonel got his wish.

Declared Lebed: “The war is over.”

Under their final peace plan, the Russians and the rebels were to leave Grozny by Sept. 1, except for joint patrols. A joint commission would supervise a full Russian withdrawal starting on Oct. 1. Meanwhile, Chechnya’s political status would be put on hold until Dec. 31, 2001, when, “with cool heads,” the two sides could discuss its future, Lebed said. His position was strengthened by support from ailing President Boris Yeltsin, who had earlier seemed ambivalent about Lebed’s peace efforts. Yeltsin remained in seclusion outside Moscow. Aides continued to deny that the president, who had two heart attacks last year, was seriously ill.

An Iraqi assault on the Kurds tests the West

President Bill Clinton put U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf on high alert after Iraqi troops attacked and overran a Kurdish dissident stronghold in northern Iraq. About 12,000 Iraqi soldiers joined forces with a rival Kurdish faction to capture the city of Arbil, UN sources said. Analysts suggested that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was testing the West’s resolve by sending troops north of the 36th parallel, the line that Iraqi forces have been barred from crossing since the 1991 Gulf War. A U.S. navy spokesman said that American forces, combat vessels and fighter planes patrolling the Gulf could respond to threatening Iraqi troop movements immediately if called upon.