World Notes

July 17 2000

World Notes

July 17 2000

World Notes

The Orange Order threatens Irish peace

A woman walks by a burning car in Portadown, Northern Ireland, where Protestant militants clashed with British soldiers. The fight erupted after the Protestant Orange Order was denied permission to march through a Catholic neighbourhood just weeks after the North’s new government, which shares power between Catholics and Protestants, convened.

Putin faces major test in Chechnya

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who came to power in March on a tough law-and-order platform, travelled to the rebellious Chechnya republic, after rebels renewed their violent campaign for independence. Suicide bombers driving trucks packed with explosives co-ordinated attacks on several Russian bases and outposts, killing at least 60 Russian police officers who had been sent to Chechnya to keep order in towns

seized by the Russian army.

The attacks raised comparisons with the 1994-1996 Chechnya war, which ended in Russia’s humiliating retreat. But at the meeting with security officials on the Chechen border, Putin vowed to reaffirm Russia’s control over the region. In the meeting, which was broadcast on Russian television, a visibly upset Putin denounced the army for failing to control the rebels. But Putin also opened the door to compromise, when he said that the Chechens might be given more control over policing—a move that could lead to self-government for the region.

Milosevic wins key constitutional change

The Yugoslav parliament approved changes to the constitution that could allow President Slobodan Milosevic to remain in office. The amendment calls for the next president to be chosen by popular vote. Under the old constitutional rule, a president was chosen by the assembly for a single four-year term. The change is seen as a victory for Milosevic, who has been indicted by the UN War Crimes Tribunal over his involvement in the Kosovo crisis, because if elected, he will be able to avoid extradition. Yugoslavia will also move to direct elections, ensuring that Montenegro, Serbia’s smaller pro-Western partner in the Yugoslav federation, will not be able to send as many representatives to parliament.

Star Wars test fails

A key U.S. test of a rocket designed to intercept an incoming nuclear missile failed, throwing into doubt the projected timetable for the controversial “Star Wars” defence plan. The interceptor, fired from a Pacific island, missed a dummy warhead in space, apparently due to a glitch in the interceptor’s booster rocket.

More Fijian hostages

Fiji’s hostage crisis escalated as supporters of coup leader George Speight took 30 soldiers, police and officials captive at a police station 63 km outside the capital, Suva. On May 19, Speight and six gunmen stormed Parliament and took the elected government prisoner. They continued to hold 27 people last week in a siege aimed at disenfranchising the ethnic Indian population and returning power to indigenous Fijians.

Embargo on diamonds

The UN Security Council imposed a global embargo on all diamond exports from Sierra Leone, where a thriving gem-for-guns trade has fuelled a 10-year civil war. The resolution bans all diamond purchases from the West African country until it sets up a system guaranteeing that its diamonds are being sold legally.

JFK blamed for crash

Investigators have concluded John F. Kennedy Jr. was probably disoriented when he lost control of his singleengine Piper Saratoga II aircraft on July 16, 1999, and crashed into the sea off Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., killing himself, his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and her sister. The National Transportation Safety Board concluded Kennedy became confused by darkness and the haze obscuring the horizon.

British PM’s son drunk

Euan Blair, the 16-year-old son of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, was found drunk and unconscious in central London after celebrating the end of the school year. The incident, in which Euan also gave police a false name, was particularly embarrassing for the Prime Minister, who has been calling for a crackdown on drunken hooligans.