WORLD/COVER

World Notes

March 11 1991
WORLD/COVER

World Notes

March 11 1991

World Notes

BURYING THE WARSAW PACT

In Budapest, foreign and defence ministers of the six Warsaw Pact nations agreed to dissolve their 36-year-old military alliance by March 31. Officials of the Soviet Union, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia also agreed to meet again by July 1 to discuss scrapping the pact's political component. Delegates said that the democratic revolutions that swept Eastern Europe in late 1989, and the end of Cold War tensions, made the alliance obsolete.

A VOTE FOR CHANGE

In the first free elections in Bangladesh in 20 years, the centrist Bangladesh National Party won 140 seats in the 300-seat parliament. After the vote, the party’s leader, 45-year-old Begum Khaleda Zia— whose husband, Gen. Ziaur Rahman, ruled the desperately poor country for six years until his assassination in 1981— sought the support of smaller parties in an effort to form a majority coalition in parliament. An interim government called the elections after President Hossain Mohammad Ershad, who seized power in a 1982 coup, resigned last December in the face of a violent campaign to remove him.

VIOLENCE IN ALBANIA

Political dissidents in Albania, the last Stalinist state in Eastern Europe, reported mass arrests and harassment of opposition activists. Albania’s Communist leader, Ramiz Alia, has embarked on a cautious path of reform since the death of his hard-line predecessor, Enver Hoxha, in 1985. But the pace of reform has been too slow for many Albanians, who rioted last month, toppling statues of Hoxha around the country.

CONTAINING KASHMIR

India extended its direct rule over Kashmir after Moslem militants kidnapped the daughter of a member of parliament. At least 2,000 people have been killed in Moslem-dominated Kashmir since New Delhi officials took direct control of the border region a year ago to try to crush militant demands for independence or secession to Pakistan.

A THREATENED FAMINE

The United Nations appealed for urgent food aid for six million Ethiopians suffering from severe drought and the effects of civil war. Officials of the organization’s Rome-based World Food Program said that the East African country needed more than 600,000 tons of food relief and $120 million to cover the cost of transporting the supplies to drought victims.