- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 12, 2000

Ruling party holds lead in Sri Lanka elections

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunga's ruling party appeared on the verge of winning a majority of parliament seats yesterday on a promise to end the country's 17-year civil war.

With more than 90 percent of the vote in the parliament election tallied, Mrs. Kumaratunga's People's Alliance had 48 percent of the vote, or 88 seats in the 225-member parliament.

Tuesday's vote in this island nation off India's southern tip was marked by violence, death and accusations of vote rigging.

House calls on U.S. to get tough with Iran

A majority of members of the House of Representatives and more than 20 senators yesterday called for tougher U.S. policies toward Iran, saying Tehran continues to violate human rights and President Mohammed Khatami has failed to bring about any improvement.

Some 225 House members and 28 senators said hundreds of executions, torture, attacks on dissidents abroad and the recent trial by an Islamic court of 13 Iranian Jews behind closed doors "lead us to conclude that any talk of political openness or moderation is ill advised."

The lawmakers, who included Democrats and Republicans, urged the State Department to support the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an opposition group also known as the People's Mojahedin, which is trying to topple the ruling theocracy in Tehran.

Fujimori puts an end to feared spy agency

LIMA, Peru President Alberto Fujimori's government yesterday ordered the disbanding of the feared spy agency that critics say has long been a tool of repression in Peru.

The government published a law saying the National Intelligence Service, which analysts say employed at least 5,000 agents and support personnel, will be disbanded within 15 days.

Airlines mull flights over North Pole

OTTAWA A joint Canadian-Russian air transportation study released yesterday has concluded that greater use of air routes over the North Pole would chop hours from long flights and save millions of dollars for airlines.

"We anticipate that using polar routes will save passengers significant flying time," Sid Koslow, vice president of engineering at Nav Canada, said in a statement.

Nigerian state drops Islamic law plans

KADUNA, Nigeria Nigeria's northern state of Kaduna, torn by sectarian riots this year, said yesterday it had shelved plans to adopt the strict Islamic Shariah penal code.

Kaduna Gov. Mohammed Ahmed Makarfi cited the cosmopolitan nature of the state as a reason for the move. His announcement should defuse the anxiety of non-Muslims but could also anger Shariah's ardent backers.

Hundreds of people died in Christian-Muslim fighting in Kaduna city in February and May over plans to introduce Shariah in the state.

Hong Kong leader scolds critics

HONG KONG With demonstrators outside demanding his resignation, Hong Kong Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa yesterday chided critics, saying they should tone down their complaints.

Raising his voice during his annual policy address, Mr. Tung said the many protesters should adopt a more harmonious approach, with "less hostility, less unnecessary quarreling."

Chechen rebels kill more Russian soldiers

NAZRAN, Russia Three Russian soldiers were killed in the Chechen capital, Grozny, when rebels ambushed an armored personnel carrier, crippling it with an explosion and bombarding it with grenades, officials said yesterday.

The ambush was one of three rebel attacks on Tuesday.

Russian forces rolled into Chechnya a year ago, after rebels raided Dagestan and after a series of terrorist explosions in three Russian cities.

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