- The Washington Times - Monday, March 19, 2001

Leftist candidates win in Paris and Lyon

PARIS The left claimed a historic victory in Paris in municipal elections that punished the right in France's capital, but voters dealt Prime Minister Lionel Jospin's Socialists a string of defeats in the provinces.

France's second-largest city, Lyon, was also set to shift left after yesterday's runoffs, one year before presidential and legislative elections when Mr. Jospin is expected to challenge conservative incumbent Jacques Chirac for France's highest office.

In Paris, tens of thousands of leftists thronged the square outside City Hall near the River Seine after pollsters projected victory for Socialist Bertrand Delanoe, one of France's few openly homosexual politicians, over a divided, feuding right.

Mir's orbit drops slightly

MOSCOW The Mir space station continued its slow fall toward Earth yesterday, gliding down 1.6 miles over a 24-hour period, Russian news reports said.

Russian space controllers are allowing Mir to descend gradually in preparation for an operation later this week to dump the aging station into the Pacific Ocean.

Now in its final orbits after 15 years in space, the craft flew at an altitude of about 143 miles above the Earth's surface yesterday. When it falls to about 135 miles, a cargo ship attached to the station is to fire engines to push the Mir into the thicker layers of the atmosphere, where it will break apart and burn.

Espionage trial begins in Sudan

KHARTOUM, Sudan Eight Sudanese opposition leaders accused of espionage and plotting to wage war against the state stood trial yesterday in a case that could further strain U.S.-Sudanese relations.

The Sudanese government said in December it had caught opposition leaders members of the Democratic National Alliance, an umbrella organization for opposition groups meeting with an American diplomat to plan an armed uprising. Their plot was to leak information to rebels and sabotage vital installations in the country, the government said.

Clashes leave Islamic militants dead

ALGIERS Security forces killed 22 Islamic militants during a crackdown against rebels waging a nine-year insurgency, while a clash between two rebel groups claimed the lives of 20 others, news reports said yesterday.

Algeria's army killed nine armed rebels during an attack Wednesday night, the Liberte daily reported yesterday. Soldiers killed another 13 rebels hiding in caves in the Collo region, 185 miles east of Algiers, the El Watan newspaper reported on Saturday.

The decapitated bodies of another 20 militants were found earlier this week after a clash between two opposing militant groups, the newspaper reported.

Haiti shipwreck kills 17 persons

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti Seventeen persons trying to reach Puerto Rico died after their boat crashed on a coral reef off the Haiti coast, authorities said. More than 40 others were presumed dead yesterday.

Survivor Carlos Pinero told authorities about 60 Dominicans were aboard the sailboat when it left the southern Dominican coastal town of La Romana. It apparently had been adrift for 24 days in the Caribbean before Thursday's accident.

Castro says Cuba would survive his death

HAVANA President Fidel Castro told Tribune Co. executives and reporters in an interview published yesterday that the future of Cuba's one-party socialism will be safe after he dies and that no successor could change the system against the will of the island's citizens.

"The pope can't turn his followers into Muslims. No one has the power in this country to change its course," he told members of a visiting Tribune Co. delegation Friday during a wide-ranging five-hour interview.

Excerpts of the interview were published in separate stories in yesterday's Chicago Tribune and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale.

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