- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 7, 2000

Colombia rebels seek formal U.S. links

BOGOTA, Colombia The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) wants to "formalize" its contact with the United States, with whom it is seeking debate on legalizing drugs, according to an article published yesterday.
The leader of the FARC's political wing, Alfonso Cano, told El Colombiano newspaper, published in Colombia's second-largest city, Medellin: "We are looking at how we can formalize contact."
Mr. Cano, who is head of the FARC grouping known as the Bolivarian Movement for the New Colombia, said the guerrilla group was seeking to "generate channels and mechanisms for them to listen to us and for us to receive their comments and observations."
One of the FARC's leading ideologists, Mr. Cano said the guerrilla group "has made attempts, and continues to do so, to air our views with the United States."

Angry Serbs besiege a British general

GRACANICA, Yugoslavia Serbs angry over a grenade attack swarmed around a British general yesterday, prompting his bodyguards to fire into the crowd, escalating tension in a community increasingly restive over NATO's inability to protect it. One person was injured.
The outrage in this Serbian enclave comes after a surge of attacks that Kosovo's Serbian community claims are intended to drive them and other minorities from the province. Eight persons have died in the past week, and many Serbs say peacekeepers have failed to ensure their safety.
A Serbian delegation plans to travel today to U.N. headquarters in New York to demand self-rule for Serbs in Kosovo and better security, according to the independent Yugoslav news agency FoNet.

Conservative chosen president of Hungary

BUDAPEST, Hungary Conservative politician Ferenc Madl was elected Hungary's new president yesterday in a third round of voting at parliament after twice failing to garner enough support.
Mr. Madl, a 69-year-old law professor nominated by the ruling center-right coalition, won a simple majority just hours after he lost a second round of voting in which he needed a two-thirds majority in the 386-seat legislature.
Mr. Madl, who assumes his duties Aug. 4, will replace President Arpad Goencz, 79, who has served the maximum two terms in the largely ceremonial post.

2,000 in South Korea protest bombing range

SEOUL About 2,000 villagers and activists clashed with riot police yesterday, demanding closure of a U.S. military bombing range on South Korea's west coast, police and reports said.
Protesters shouted anti-U.S. slogans as they tried to march into the bombing range near Mae Hyang, a village 50 miles southwest of Seoul. They threw rocks at security forces guarding the site, police said.
Police, holding plastic shields locked together in front of them, blocked the march.

Toll rises to 103 in Indonesia quake

BENGKULU, Indonesia The official death toll from Sumatra's massive earthquake rose to 103 yesterday as the search for victims intensified despite rumbling aftershocks that kept scared survivors outdoors.
Police feared the number of casualties could rise even further once authorities reach remote areas, including a tiny island closest to the epicenter of the earthquake, which struck on Sunday night.
The government emergency task force said 64 bodies had been recovered from rubble in Bengkulu town on Sumatra's southwest coast. The rest were killed in other areas.
Many were crushed as they slept when their poorly built homes caved in. The quake cut off communications and electricity, and closed the area's main airport.

3 rebel soldiers defect in Fiji

SUVA, Fiji Three soldiers who had been backing Fiji's rebel leader defected yesterday, leaving the parliament complex where the prime minister and much of the elected government are being held hostage.
The defections could be a sign that George Speight is losing support within his ranks for his push for a new constitution for this Pacific nation. Mr. Speight, a failed businessman, also wants to name the next government.
Fiji's new military ruler, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, refused to grant any more concessions to Mr. Speight, who with six masked men stormed parliament and took government leaders hostage May 19.

Based on wire dispatches and staff reports.

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