With her government under attack by supporters of deposed leader Ferdinand Marcos, Philippine President Corazon Aquino last week received a vote of confidence from an unexpected source. Guerrilla leaders of the Moslem Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)— who recently signed a ceasefire agreement with the military after more than 10 years of fighting for autonomy in 13 southern provinces—said that Aquino has the support of the people.
“We have decided that the legitimate government in this country is the government of President Corazon Aquino,” declared MNLF official Macapantun Abbas. The announcement came just two days after a rebel session of the abolished National Assembly accused Aquino of illegally seizing power following the February presidential election. Later, about 500 Marcos loyalists gathered outside the U.S. Embassy in Manila to demand the return of the exiled leader, who they claim was tricked by Washington into fleeing to Hawaii.
In what became an important test of Pakistani President Zia ul-Haq’s commitment to democracy, the military last week allowed more than 75,000 supporters of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto to hold a rally in Rawalpindi, headquarters of the Pakistani army. As in five previous rallies since her return from exile April 10, Bhutto called for a “peaceful revolution” with free general elections to replace last year’s poll in which parties were prohibited from campaigning. And the leader of the banned Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) sharply criticized Zia, who overthrew her father, President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, in a 1977 coup and later had him hanged on a controversial murdei* conspiracy conviction in Rawalpindi’s central jail. “There comes a time for every dictator to go,” declared Bhutto. “Now it is time for the usurper to get ready to go.” There had been concerns on both sides that bringing Bhutto’s “Caravan for Change” to the garrison city would incite violence. But with heightened security measures by both government troops and PPP guards, last week’s rally ended without incident.
A Tory revolt
It was the most conspicuous rebellion in British Conservative ranks since Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher assumed office in 1979. Defying their leader’s call to support legislation repealing a prohibition on most Sunday shopping, 68 Conservatives joined the opposition last week to defeat the government-sponsored bill. As well, all 14 Unionist MPs from Northern Ireland suspended their parliamentary boycott in protest against the Anglo-Irish Accord, signed last November, to oppose the legislation. Many Britons consider their centuries-old Sunday shopping laws—which permit the sale
of such items as whisky and Aspirin but not tea or toothpaste—archaic, poorly drafted and unworkable. But in a parliamentary debate before the vote, opposition Labour MPs denounced the proposed change while former Conservative foreign minister Francis Pym said that government efforts to repeal the laws were “offensive and distasteful to many people.” And for Thatcher, celebrating her seventh year in office next week, the parliamentary defeat—and her own party’s revolt—was an unwelcome anniversary present.
THE UNITED STATES
A Russian’s return
Nineteen years ago Svetlana Alliluyeva, the daughter of the late Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, defected to the United States. In 1970 she married her fourth husband, Arizona architect William Peters, but a divorce followed three years later, after the birth of a daughter, Olga. Eighteen months ago, following a brief stay in England, Alliluyeva took her daughter out of school and made a highly publicized return to her homeland. At a Moscow press conference she declared, “I feel happy at last—I have returned home.” But lasting happiness apparently eluded Alliluyeva. Rejected by the two grown children she had left behind in Moscow in 1967, Alliluyeva retreated with Olga to a quiet life in southern Tbilisi. Three weeks ago they returned to Moscow to negotiate with Soviet authorities for permission to leave again. Last week Olga, 14, flew back to England for a tearful reunion with friends and teachers at a Quaker boarding school. And Alliluyeva, 60, described by western friends as a restless, temperamental woman still searching for fulfilment, quietly re-entered the United States.
The end of an ordeal
When she was bundled into a car trunk after her abduction on April 8, Dublin socialite Jennifer Guinness, 48, hid a car jack under her coat in the hope —until one “hopping mad” abductor found it two days later—of using it against her captors. At another point, the slight, grey-haired woman said later, she tried to persuade her three captors that they had the wrong Guinness. But when they saw television
coverage of the lavish life-
style of her family—one with ties to the Guinness brewing fortune—a member of the gang burst into her room shouting, “You’re worth millions.” The gang demanded the equivalent of $3.6 million in ransom. Finally, after an eight-day ordeal in which Guinness, gagged and blindfolded, was moved to five different locations, police surrounded a house in Dublin’s embassy district. After an exchange of gunfire, six hours of negotiations—and “advice to all parties” from Guinness—the gunmen gave up. Police, who described the abductors as common criminals rather than political activists, said that no ransom was paid. And at a news conference following her release, Guinness said she felt no hatred for her kidnappers. Said Guinness: “I think I feel pity and compassion for them.”
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