World Notes

June 12 2000

World Notes

June 12 2000

World Notes

Terror at a Luxembourg day care

A woman comforts a child at a day-care centre in Luxembourg, where a lone gunman held 28 people, 25 of them children, hostage for 30 hours. The standoff ended after police, using a gun disguised as a camera, shot and wounded the man after he was tricked into thinking he was giving a TV interview.

Ethiopian troops on the march

Sporadic fighting continued between Ethiopian and Eritrean forces as diplomats struggled to find a solution to the two-year border war between the two East African countries. The war remained in a bloody stalemate until Ethiopian forces broke through on May 18 and advanced to within 100 km of the Eritrean capital, Asmara. Eritrea became independent from Ethiopia in 1993, and this is the third outbreak of prolonged combat since the two sides went to war in May,

1998, over a tiny sliver of land along Eritrea’s northwest border.

Thousands of soldiers have been killed on both sides in the latest round of fighting, while nearly 500,000 people have fled advancing Ethiopian troops, who last week seemed determined to reach Asmara. Negotiators for both countries travelled to Algiers for indirect peace talks being held through African, European and U.S. envoys. But Ethiopia’s leaders, who held the upper hand, made it clear they would not end the war until the signing of a final peace accord in which Eritrea gives up any claim to disputed lands.

Canada and the fight against AIDS

Canada will triple the amount of money it spends fighting AIDS in developing countries over the next three years to $120 million. Maria Minna, minister for international co-operation, made the announcement at an international AIDS conference in Toronto. In addition to AIDS education, the money will be spent to fund research into new medicines to combat the disease. Minna hopes the new measures will drastically cut the number of new AIDS cases.

Hope for the hostages

Hopes ran high that Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry of Fiji and 29 other hostages could soon be released in a deal with the military government now running the country. Rebel leader George Speight seized the hostages on May 19, claiming to represent the Pacific island’s majority ethnic Fijians, many of them angry that Chaudhry, a member of the Indian minority, came to power. Speight could be appointed to lead a new government.

Clinton aims for peace

U.S. President Bill Clinton emerged from a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak in Lisbon to declare that a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians is at hand. If Clinton can kick-start the stalled process, Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat could sign an accord this summer. But they remain far apart on key issues, including the size of a Palestinian state.

Peru election protests

Despite massive street protests, Peru’s National Electoral Council refused to overturn the election of President Alberto Fujimori. The run-off vote was boycotted by challenger Alejandro Toledo, who claimed the first round giving Fujimori a majority was rigged.

Elián denied asylum

Shouting “Bring back Elián,” half a million women gathered near Havana to protest another delay in Elián González’s return to Cuba. A U.S. appellate court panel cleared the way for his return to Cuba by ruling that the boy, rescued when his mother drowned in a shipwreck while trying to bring him to the United States last November, does not have the right to an asylum hearing. But Elián’s Miami relatives were given 14 days to appeal.

A promise from Vietnam

Vietnam promised to release 74-yearold Tran Thi Cam, a Canadian, by Sept. 2 from a prison where she has served four years on a drug-smuggling charge. Her daughter was executed in April for her role in the alleged crime. The decision to release Tran was part of a general amnesty.