- The Washington Times - Monday, May 15, 2000

Schroeder party wins key midterm vote

DUESSELDORF, Germany Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats (SPD) kept control of Germany's biggest state yesterday in a regional election that was an important midterm test for the center-left chancellor.
The SPD won 42.8 percent in North Rhineland-Westphalia, according to official preliminary data, with the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) almost 6 points behind at 37.
Though the SPD also lost some seats in the state legislature in Duesseldorf, the vote highlighted the problems new CDU leader Angela Merkel faces in overcoming a slush fund scandal around ex-Chancellor Helmut Kohl before the general election in 2002.

As battle rages, Ethiopians vote

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia As a border war with Eritrea raged on in the background, Ethiopians voted yesterday in their second-ever general election, a ballot marked by violence when security forces opened fire on protesters. Seven persons were killed.
An opposition party leader said government forces threw a grenade into a protesting crowd in Hadiya, a southern region where opposition to the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front is strong. Five persons were killed in that explosion and two others when police opened fire on another crowd, he said.
Ethiopia and Eritrea each claimed to have inflicted heavy losses on the other as battles raged for a third day yesterday in a new round of their 2-year-old border war.

Police seize suspects in journalist's murder

ANKARA, Turkey Police yesterday said they had captured four Islamic militants suspected of the car bombing last year that killed a newspaper columnist.
The arrests in the killing of Ahmet Taner Kislali came a week after police arrested nine other Islamic militants for the 1993 murder of another secular columnist, Ugur Mumcu. The government has been under intense pressure to shed light on the killings.
Police said all belonged to the same outlawed group, Tevhid-Selam, which reportedly is backed by Iran and aims to establish Islamic rule in this secular but predominantly Muslim country.

Bounty offered for Israeli soldier

BEIRUT The Shi'ite Muslim group Hezbollah offered yesterday to seek amnesty for any member of the Israeli-allied South Lebanon Army who kills an SLA officer or Israeli soldier and then deserts his unit.
The Hezbollah statement, only weeks before the scheduled completion of Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon, appeared to be a bid to further demoralize the SLA, which has suffered five combat fatalities in the past two weeks and whose fate following the Israeli pullout is uncertain.

Yitzhak Rabin's widow reveals she has cancer

JERUSALEM Leah Rabin, 72, widow of slain Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, confirmed yesterday that she has cancer after weeks of reports about her failing health.
In a live telephone interview broadcast on Israel TV, Mrs. Rabin, who is in New York, at first tried to evade questions about the nature of her illness.
When asked, however, "How did you learn that you have cancer?" she replied, "It was a process, and it wasn't discovered overnight."
Rumors about Mrs. Rabin's sickness have been rife since she was admitted to a New York hospital for tests.

Rebels attack Russian checkpoints

NAZRAN, Russia Rebel fighters attacked Russian checkpoints around Chechnya, military officials said yesterday, but bad weather kept federal jets from flying their daily sorties in the republic's south.
Russian checkpoints came under fire eight times in the past 24 hours, while border points and patrols were attacked 11 times, Russian military officials said. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Based on wire dispatches and staff reports

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