- The Washington Times - Monday, April 30, 2001

Political showdown possible in Philippines
MANILA The powerful head of the Philippine Roman Catholic church urged people into the streets early today to defend democracy and the president, setting up a possible showdown with thousands of protesters supporting ousted President Joseph Estrada.
Troops were put on alert after the call by Cardinal Jaime Sin. The countrys military chief of staff held a 2 a.m. news conference to deny reports that officers were defecting to Mr. Estradas camp and repeat support for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, facing her first crisis.
"Id like to assure the public that the Armed Forces of the Philippines stands united 100 percent, steadfast behind Commander in Chief … Arroyo, and claims to the contrary are plain and simple falsehood and designed to create disorder and sow confusion," said the chief of staff, Gen. Diomedio Villanueva.
Five tanks sat behind a building at the hospital where Mr. Estrada has been temporarily freed from jail to undergo medical tests, and armored personnel carriers were deployed at the presidential palace, part of a special 2,000-person task force.

Ethnic Berbers clash with police

ALGIERS Ethnic Berbers clashed with police yesterday in weeklong riots that have reportedly killed 50 persons, and a political party threatened to quit the government, denouncing the police crackdown.
The Rally for Culture and Democracy, which has its base of support among Berbers in the northeast Kabyle region, where the riots have been raging, accused the police of blunders and overreaction.
A withdrawal by the party will not threaten the survival of the government, but the move places further pressure on President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who was elected on a promise to end a bloody insurgency that has gripped this north African nation for nearly a decade.

Schroeder endorses European government

BERLIN German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has endorsed the creation of a European government as part of sweeping reform proposals for the European Union, his party said yesterday.
The ideas, set out in a draft policy document for a meeting of the governing Social Democratic Party, were Mr. Schroeders most comprehensive vision of Europe and signaled a bid to mold the European policy debate in Germany before he seeks re-election next year.
A party spokeswoman confirmed a report in Der Spiegel magazine that the draft suggests turning the EUs Executive Commission into a European government and giving the European Parliament full power over the 15-nation groups budget, nearly half of which goes for farm subsidies.

China cracks down on extramarital affairs

BEIJING After heated debate, Chinas legislature has passed sweeping revisions to the nations marriage law to curb extramarital affairs and spousal abuse, state media said yesterday.
The revisions, passed almost unanimously by senior legislators on Saturday, ban unfaithful spouses from living with their lovers. They also empower victims of domestic violence to seek official protection and police punishment for abusers.
The revisions to the marriage law, the first law drafted by Communist leaders after they took power in 1949 and last revised in 1980, were one of the most openly discussed legal issues in recent years in a China that carefully restricts public debate.

Britain allows soldiers to change their sex

LONDON Britains Ministry of Defense said yesterday it had allowed up to five members of the armed forces to have sex-change operations carried out by the taxpayer-funded National Health Service.
A spokeswoman said the ministrys medical services did not have the surgeons to conduct such operations, and referred interested soldiers to the National Health Service.
However, the hormone therapy treatment linked to the operations may be dispensed by regimental medical officers, "in which case, we would pay for that," she said.

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