News Briefs

May 26, 1996
Web posted at: 1:10 a.m. EDT (0510 GMT)

Central African mutineers negotiate with French forces


BANGUI, Central African Republic (CNN) -- Fighting eased in the capital of the Central African Republic Saturday as the commander of French forces began negotiating with rebel army troops.

The mutineers and President Ange-Felix Patasse both indicated that Patasse had accepted some of their demands, and that they will no longer insist that he resign. The soldiers' primary demand has been that the president relinquish some control over the army.

The French military continued to evacuate French civilians and nationals of some other countries, while trying to restore some order to the capital. The United States, guarding its embassy with U.S. troops, is also considering a mass evacuation of its civilians. About 1,500 French and other nationals have been flown out of Bangui since the mutiny began.


Gadhafi arrives for state visit with Egypt's Mubarak

CAIRO, Egypt (CNN) -- Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is in Egypt for an official state visit. He arrived in Cairo Saturday in a 40-vehicle convoy accompanied by several machine-gun-wielding women bodyguards.

Gadhafi will be in Egypt for the next three to four days, meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The two leaders will talk about Arab issues in the Middle East, including allegations by the United States that Libya is building a chemical weapons plant.

Chinese mine disasters kill nearly 80


BEIJING (CNN) -- A Chinese newspaper reported Saturday that two mine disasters have claimed nearly 80 lives.

A gas explosion in a central Hunan province coal mine killed 46 miners on May 21, and 33 bodies were recovered the same day from a lead and zinc mine in northern Gansu province that had flooded three weeks earlier.

The Hunan Daily reported the disasters May 23, a day after the Guangming Daily reported that an apparent lack of concern for safety rules had sparked rises in China's fatal accidents and fires this year.

France backs Bildt's efforts to remove Karadzic

Carl Bildt

PARIS (CNN) -- Bosnian peace coordinator Carl Bildt left a meeting Saturday with French President Jacques Chirac assured of France's support for his efforts to remove Serb leader Radovan Karadzic from office.

A presidential aide said that Chirac called Bildt's efforts to force the twice-indicted Karadzic to stand trial for war crimes courageous, and pledged his support for full implementation of the Dayton peace accords.

France joins the United States in insisting that no deal be struck to allow Karadzic or his general, Ratko Mladic, to avoid prosecution.

Nigeria agrees to reform judicial system


LAGOS, Nigeria (CNN) -- Nigeria says it will follow the recommendations of a U.N. fact-finding mission to make widespread reforms to its judicial system.

Among the reforms, described in a letter from the government to the U.N., will be excluding the military from sitting on tribunals reviewing cases under the Civil Disturbances Act. Writer Ken Saro-Wiwa and nine other minority rights activists were convicted and executed for murder under the act.

The verdicts of those tribunals will be reviewed by an appellate court before confirmation by authorities.

A decree under which any person considered a security risk can be detained indefinitely without trial will be revised to allow a review every three months, and civil courts will be permitted to hear those cases. There also will be immediate review of cases of persons held under the decree.

Cosmonauts install solar battery on Mir

solar battery

MOSCOW (CNN) -- Two Russian cosmonauts installed a U.S.-made solar battery to power the space station Mir.

Cosmonauts Yuri Onufrienko and Yuri Usachev performed the installation after a near six-hour space walk, their third since arriving at Mir in February.

U.S. astronaut Shannon Lucid, a biochemist, is also aboard Mir. Lucid, the first American woman to live on the Russian space station, arrived March 23 for a five-month tour.

Surinam president tops former dictator in vote


PARAMARIBO, Surinam (CNN) -- President Ronald Venetiaan defeated former dictator Desi Bouterse in Surinam's general election, but failed to win an outright victory.

Venetiaan's New Front coalition fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to win the election and will need the support of a group of smaller parties to keep the president in office for a second five-year term.

Venetiaan's party was expected to take 23 National Assembly seats, and Bouterse's National Democratic Party 15 by the time all the ballots are counted.

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