Muslims from around the world pray at the Grand Mosque in Mecca before the sacred Kaaba shrine, which contains the Black Stone of Mecca given by God to Adam after his expulsion from paradise. Nearly two million Muslims travelled to Mecca for the annual hajj, or pilgrimage to holy sites.
The campaign begins
In a week in which both Democrat Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush won delegate primaries virtually securing their presidential nominations, Gore challenged the Texas governor to reject the use of so-called soft, or unregulated, money from corporations and unions. But Bush countered that the vice-president has failed to answer all questions surrounding his role in questionable fund-raising during the 1996 Clinton-Gore campaign.
A sweeping victory
Spanish voters enjoying an economic boom overwhelmingly re-elected Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar and his conservative Popular Party, capturing 183 of the 350 parliamentary seats and 45 per cent of the popular vote. The 47year-old former tax inspector’s freemarket policies are credited with revitalizing Spain’s now-vibrant economy.
A teeny, teeny human relative
Anthropologists have discovered another possible missing link—fossils of thumb-sized primates in a limestone quarry in eastern China. Weighing less than an ounce, the nocturnal animals are believed to have lived 45 million years ago and represent the smallest and earliest-known primate relative of the monkey, ape and human.
Key Iranian reformer shot
Saeed Hajjarian, a key architect of Iran’s reformist movement, was shot in the face in what President Mohammad Khatami condemned as a “sinister” attempt to stop progress. While no one claimed responsibility for the attack that left the presidential adviser in a coma, pro-reform newspapers blamed religious conservatives who lost power in last month’s elections.
After the floods
Aid workers battled outbreaks of lifethreatening malaria and cholera in Mozambique in the wake of devastating floods that killed at least 500 people and left 300,000 homeless. Health officials fear the malaria could spread further as water left behind by the floods serves as a breeding ground for disease-carrying mosquitoes.
Chen wins historic ballot in Taiwan
Ignoring China’s belligerent warnings, Taiwanese voters elected opposition leader Chen Shui-bian to the presidency, ending half a century of National party rule. Chen, 48, of the Democratic Progressive party, defeated populist independent James Soong and Nationalist Vice-President Lien Chan—whose party’s image has been badly soiled by political corruption—in the island’s first truly contested presidential elections since the Nationalists fled for Taiwan in 1949. A former Taipei mayor, Chen in the past
advocated independence but vowed during the campaign not to declare it. Still, in a flagrant attempt to steer Taiwanese voters away from Chen, Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji warned two weeks ago—in a Beijing news conference televised in Taipei— that the Chinese people were “willing to use all their blood” to prevent Taiwan’s independence. After the Saturday vote, Chen reaffirmed his desire to lead a delegation to China before taking office—and not to stir up trouble between China and his prosperous island of 22 million people. Said Chen: “I want to reduce the tensions and conflict that are the result of misunderstandings between the two sides.”
Naming names in a bloody civil war
A scathing report written by Robert Fowler, Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations, says 10 African states, along with Belgium and Bulgaria, are violating a UN embargo against dealing with Angola’s UNITA rebels. The report says the offenders are buying diamonds mined by UNITA, which uses the money to purchase arms for its 2 5-year-old civil war, which has killed at least one million of Angola’s 12 million people and left three million homeless. All the countries have denied any wrongdoing.
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