- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 21, 2000

Cease-fire threatened by Ulster extremists

BELFAST In a new threat to Northern Ireland's tenuous peace, the province's largest pro-British paramilitary group threatened yesterday to break its cease-fire, accusing Catholic groups of attacking Protestant homes.

The outlawed Ulster Freedom Fighters, whose October 1994 cease-fire was vital to the negotiation of the province's peace accord two years ago, said Roman Catholic nationalist groups are conducting a campaign of intimidation against Protestants in two areas of Belfast.

"This ethnic cleansing of north and west Belfast cannot and will not be allowed to happen," the Ulster Freedom Fighters statement said.

It threatened to break the cease-fire as of midnight. From that time, it said, the Ulster Freedom Fighters "reserves the right to shoot any person seen to be attacking Protestant homes."

Mexico expects fewer poll observers

MEXICO CITY Mexico expects to receive about 800 foreign observers for the closely contested July election, 20 percent less than originally anticipated, the independent electoral watchdog said yesterday.

"As of today, we have accredited 602 observers, but we have more than 100 pending applications," Jose Luis Escutia of Mexico's Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) told Reuters news agency.

Former President Jimmy Carter has been invited by the main political parties and the government and will act as an observer, the Carter Center said in a statement.

Media baron convinced Putin backs jailing

MOSCOW Three nights in a dingy jail cell were enough to convince media baron Vladimir Gusinsky that Russia is threatened by police state tendencies under President Vladimir Putin.

In a first public appearance after being released, Mr. Gusinsky said yesterday he believes Mr. Putin personally ordered his detention, and said his time in jail last week led him to fear a return to Soviet-style repression of political prisoners.

Mr. Putin has denied any prior knowledge of the arrest, which has been interpreted as a crackdown on media freedoms. He said prosecutors acted independently according to Russian law.

Gambian police detain opposition leader

BANJUL, Gambia Gambian police were detaining the country's main opposition leader, Usainu Darbo, for the third day following clashes over the weekend between opposition supporters and members of the ruling party, police said.

Mr. Darbo, leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP), has been held since Sunday in Basse, some 200 miles from the capital. He is suspected of killing a supporter of the ruling Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC).

Police said that the man was killed during the clash Saturday, and that several others were injured.

Soldiers, coup chiefs in tune in Fiji

SUVA, Fiji Fiji's coup plotters and martial law rulers voiced confidence today that they were close to naming a new civilian administration which could signal the end of the drawn-out hostage crisis.

But diplomatic sources say both sides seem intent on ignoring two key factors the intentions of the government being held hostage and the growing anger abroad.

Coup leader George Speight and members of the Fiji Military Force Counter Revolutionary Warfare unit seized parliament, Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry, his Cabinet and ruling members of parliament on May 19.

Based on wire dispatches and staff reports.

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