July 20 1998


July 20 1998


Rwandan Hutu rebels freed a 59-yearold Canadian nun after taking her to neighboring Uganda and holding her for four days, apparently to care for rebel wounded. The Hutu fighters, battling Rwanda’s Tutsi-led army, robbed a bank and a health centre where Sister Gisele Allard, a native of St.-Etienne, Que., often worked. The rebels also released two Rwandan nuns who were kidnapped at the same time.


Australia’s Parliament narrowly approved a law limiting aboriginal claims on vast pasturelands, averting a snap election that many feared would be racially divisive. Prime Minister John Howard threatened to dissolve Parliament if the bill did not pass. A 1996 court decision had allowed native claims on land leased by farmers and miners. Aboriginal groups denounced the law as a racist landgrab.


Russian President Boris Yeltsin warned he would crush any “extremist” attempt to grab power, as the country’s economic crisis worsened. Officials were negotiating a major aid package from the International Monetary Fund, but they denied that the ruble would be devalued.


The UN General Assembly voted 124 to 4 to give the Palestinian delegation nearly the same rights as an independent state. Under the unique arrangement, the Palestinians still cannot vote, but they can raise issues for debate and co-sponsor resolutions. Palestinian officials called the move a huge step towards statehood.


A 19-year-old man accused of murdering a Canadian teenager in 1996 at a beachside Florida phone booth was cocky and unrepentant after the killing, witnesses said at his trial. Prosecutors say John Rainey, who flashed secret gang signals to friends in court, pressed a .38-calibre revolver against the neck of 18-year-old Mark Fyke as the Belleville, Ont., youth spoke to his mother from Daytona Beach, Fla. The prosecution said Rainey was a member of a violent gang that was looking for someone to rob.


Confrontation over a march

Less than two months after the Irish peace accord was affirmed in referendums, Northern Ireland erupted in sectarian violence. By the weekend of the “Glorious Revolution”—the July 12 anniversary of William of Orange’s Protestant victory over Catholic forces in 1690—police had reported more than 500 confrontations, including at least a dozen shooting incidents and about 30 firebombings, most of them on Catholic homes and small businesses. The cause of the unrest, for the third year in a row, was an attempt by members of the Protestant Orange Order to march along Portadown’s Garvaghy Road, a Catholic enclave in a mostly Protestant town about 40 km southwest of Belfast. In 1996 and 1997, authorities tried to ban the Portadown march, but gave in at the last minute to political pressure, including a very public show of support for the marchers from David Trimble, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party

and Northern Ireland’s new first minister.

This year, with April’s peace accord roundly endorsed by Catholics and Protestants, authorities were determined to draw the line in Portadown. A planned July 5 march down Garvaghy Road was banned and police backed up the order with a trench and two lines of barbed wire across the route. Several thousand angry marchers then camped out at Drumcree Church. British Prime Minister Tony Blair urged compromise during meetings with Protestant leaders in London. But he refused to overturn the Parades Commission decision for Portadown. Compounding the political problem, the high court in Belfast ruled that another of the marches, along Belfast’s Lower Ormeau Road, could go ahead despite residents’ objections. And at week’s end, British and Irish police arrested 10 people linked to Irish Republican Army dissidents who allegedly were planning to plant bombs in London.

William and Camilla

Royal speculation ran rife after British tabloids reported that Prince William recently met his father’s mistress, Camilla Parker Bowles, for the first time. A spokeswoman for Prince Charles confirmed that William, 16, had met Parker Bowles, 50, but would not comment further. Some royalwatchers speculated that leaks about the June 12 meeting were designed to soften

public hostility to a possible appearance by Charles with his lover on his 50th birthday in November. The Sun reported that the two, both divorced, live “almost as man and wife” at Charles’s country estate in Gloucestershire. The Mirror also ran a sympathetic story about Parker Bowles supporting Charles after his ex-wife, Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed in a car crash last year. Diana blamed Parker Bowles for the breakup of her marriage, calling her rival “the Rottweiler.”