Thousands of East Timorese protesters rallied in the capital of Dili today to mark the anniversary of Indonesia’s invasion of East Timor 23 years ago today. Meanwhile, in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, East Timorese students protested outside U.N. offices demanding Indonesian troops leave East Timor and that former dictator Suharto be tried in international court for human rights abuses. Witnesses saw police beat two East Timorese students with sticks and drag them inside a truck. The students tried to march on the U.S. embassy but were blocked by more than more than a hundred police and troops in riot gear.
The White House will have 30 hours over two long days to present its defense of President Clinton. But the House Judiciary panel made clear yesterday it would not be deterred from starting a debate this week on whether the President should be impeached. The White House had asked for up to four days to make its case, but the House Judiciary Committee countered yesterday with an offer of two 15-hour days. If the full House votes to impeach the President, the Senate will hold a trial. A two-thirds vote would be needed to remove him from office.
In Moscow, returning to work for a mere three hours, Boris Yeltsin fired most of his top aides today and said he was assuming control of two key government agencies. The shake-up removes several aides who had publicly questioned the Russian president’s health. Afterward, Yeltsin went back to the government hospital where he’s been staying for the past two weeks.
Failed coup leader Hugo Chávez swept to a landslide victory in Venezuela’s presidential election yesterday and said he would lead a “people’s government.” Chávez beat out a Yale-educated businessman backed by Venezuela’s traditionally dominant parties.
At The Hague, the top Bosnian-Serb war crimes suspect in U.N. custody, a general accused of overseeing the 1995 massacre of thousands of Muslims, today denied genocide charges. At his arraignment before the Yugoslav War Crimes Tribunal, General Radislav Krsti? also pleaded innocent to crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions. Krsti? was arrested last week by U.S. members of the NATO peacekeeping force in Bosnia. No trial date has been set.
From Angola, the United Nations has evacuated 14 of its peacekeepers who were trapped by fighting between the army and rebel forces in central Angola, this according to a U.N. spokesperson who said the men were withdrawn yesterday from UNITA rebel strongholds and will fly from Luanda to their home countries. The area of the country where the UNITA leadership is based reportedly is under attack by government forces. The government accused UNITA of using the peacekeepers as human shields to ward off attack. In a statement on Friday, the U.N. Security Council said it would hold UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi personally responsible for the safety of the monitors.
From Havana, Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd called yesterday for new talks with Cuba, saying Washington’s four-decade policy of isolating the island nation has not worked. Dodd, who’s a Democrat from Connecticut, said he spoke with Cuban President Fidel Castro for six hours Friday night, focusing mainly on international terrorism and drug trafficking. A member of the U.S. Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, Dodd is proposing ending the ban on the sale of food and medicine to Cuba, lifting travel restrictions, and increasing direct flights, permitting greater contact between U.S. and Cuban diplomats at all levels and the establishment of a commission on exploring U.S.-Cuban relations. Dodd, who was also meeting with top Cuban officials, expects to end his visit tomorrow.
Iraq’s Deputy President Taha Yassin Ramadan said today he believed Western air strikes remain a more likely outcome than a peaceful resolution to Baghdad’s repeated crises over U.N. weapons inspections. Ramadan repeated Iraq’s call that the composition of UNSCOM, charged with scrapping Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, should be reviewed. Iraq has frequently accused the UNSCOM inspectors of being dominated by members from the United States and Britain, the two U.N. Security Council countries most hostile to Baghdad.
James Hoffa has won the Teamsters presidency, his main rival has conceded. The victory by the son of the infamous longtime union boss leaves many in labor and business wondering what to expect from the 57-year-old Detroit lawyer. He’s promised to negotiate tough new contracts, restore fiscal discipline, and make the Teamsters more independent, both within the AFL-CIO and in national politics.