Troops from Chad have deployed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to fight alongside forces backing President Laurent Kabila against rebels. The Congo’s presidential affairs minister said the Chadians would take part in a major counteroffensive due to launch soon in rebel-held towns in the eastern Congo.
U.S. lawmakers, after shrugging off a White House veto threat, were en route today to providing $4.1 billion in emergency aid to farmers caught in an abrupt economic downturn. Farm income was forecast to plunge 13% this year, dragged down by an oversupply of meat and a global grain glut, along with losses from drought, hurricanes and wheat scab. Negotiators from the House and Senate Monday wrote the aid, split between disaster relief and bonus payments to farmers to make up for weak agriculture exports, into a bill providing $61.3 billion for the Agriculture Department and related agencies in fiscal 1999.
Don’t look for the White House to show up in many more Tommy Hilfiger ads. The designer is dropping its latest ad campaign after a request from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. One ad shows a young woman sitting on a desk in a fake Oval Office. Another has a male model standing by a helicopter next to a mock White House. White House lawyers say the request had nothing to do with the Lewinsky scandal. They say there’s a long-standing policy that the White House not be used for advertising. Some will still appear through October because it’s too late to pull them. Others, which will run into December, will have the White House cropped out.
El Salvador said yesterday that it would pay pensions to some 25,000 former members of paramilitary groups that backed the armed forces during the 1970s and ‘80s, but they were not included in the 1992 peace accord that ended the war and granted benefits, including parcels of land and bank credits to both government soldiers and guerrillas. In August, a group of former paramilitaries staged a series of protests to demand compensation for their work alongside the army. The protests included a hunger strike by 25 of the former paramilitaries outside the offices of President Armando Calderón Sol. Yesterday, the Salvadoran president said he would grant the pensions based on a decree issued in 1980 by the country’s then-ruling junta, but it was not immediately clear if the pensions would satisfy the former paramilitaries, who have also demanded land, housing, fertilizers and credits.
A French court is to try former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega and his wife early next year on charges of laundering drug money. Both are likely to be tried in their absence as Noriega is in a U.S. prison and his wife is on the run. Noriega is accused of laundering $2.7 million in bank accounts in France through the now-bankrupt Bank of Credit and Commerce International. Noriega is serving a 40-year prison term in the United States for conspiracy and racketeering.
This news from South Africa: President Nelson Mandela, has today urged Lesotho’s ruling party and opposition groups to make peace so that a South African-led intervention force could withdraw from the troubled kingdom. Mandela’s official Cape Town residence was where he spoke after a meeting with Lesotho’s King Letsie III. He said, “Our belief is that issues of this nature cannot be settled through military intervention. They need a political solution, and it’s only the Basotho people who can do that.” The Office of South African Deputy President Thabo Mbeki announced an agreement to resume peace talks on Friday in a statement released hours before Mandela met the king.
And this news from Burma: The ousted deputy prime minister pleaded innocent today to nine charges of corruption and illegal sex acts, appearing in court with black and blue welts on his face and body after days in police detention. The minister, Anwar Ibrahim, also claimed he was severely beaten by police and his requests for medical attention were ignored. His court appearance came a day after riot police clashed with thousands of anti-government demonstrators who have taken to the streets to protest the arrest of the man who’s one of those viewed as leading a campaign against the Burmese prime minister’s 17-year rule.