Chronology: APRIL 4 Cabinet ousted in Ukraine With near unanimous consent (292-15), members of Ukraine's Supreme Council (parliament) voted to oust the Cabinet of Pres. Leonid Kuchma. The vote of no confidence cast by numerous former communist legislators was generally interpreted as an expression of dissatisfaction with Kuchma's reforms. Some analysts, however, suggested that the president may have been pleased that ministers who opposed his programs had been removed from positions of influence. That same day, in a state of the nation address, Kuchma vowed to accelerate economic reforms despite political opposition because the economy, he said, could not survive without implementation of measures that he knew were unpopular. 7 Police raid Claes's home Demands that Willy Claes resign as secretary-general of NATO intensified after Belgian police raided his home and office. The authorities were searching for evidence that the Flemish Socialist Party had accepted a BF 50 million bribe in 1988, when Claes was the party's economic affairs minister. The money was reportedly turned over to the coalition government's senior partner after helicopters worth $285 million were purchased from Agusta SpA, an Italian company. The scandal had already forced five government ministers to resign. House GOP holds rally Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives held a rally on the steps of the Capitol to celebrate the completion of legislative action on their party's "Contract with America." Under the leadership of House Speaker Newt Gingrich, the Republicans had fulfilled their promise to bring 10 initiatives to a floor vote before April 13--100 days after the 104th Congress had convened. The only item that had failed to win approval was a limit on the number of terms a representative could serve. Other laws affected such things as crime, welfare, taxes, social security, and military affairs. 9 Fujimori coasts to victory Having succeeded in stabilizing Peru's economy by controlling inflation and in restoring public tranquillity by virtually destroying the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) guerrilla movement, Alberto Fujimori won a second five-year term as president by capturing nearly two-thirds of the popular vote. The strongest of his 13 opponents was Javier Prez de Cullar, the former secretary-general of the United Nations, who got the support of about 22% of the vote. Although Fujimori had temporarily suspended the constitution, the national legislature, and the courts in 1992, his authoritarian methods were seen by many as having improved the well-being of ordinary citizens. 10 Palestinians hold trials A new court established by the Palestine Authority in Gaza sentenced a member of the Islamic Jihad to 15 years in prison for having trained youths to kill Israelis. Yasir Arafat, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, appeared determined to crack down on those who challenged his authority or sought to undermine efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East. Numerous arrests followed by secret trials and severe sentences appeared to be Arafat's strategy to quell violence in his homeland. 11 Taipei officials resign The Taipei city council in Taiwan was thrown into turmoil when one of its members accused the vice mayor of being a foreigner. Chen Shih-ming was in fact a U.S. citizen by birth, but he had renounced his citizenship at the U.S. embassy in Thailand on January 31. A female councillor who belonged to the Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) then denounced Mayor Chen Shuibian, a member of the Progressive Party, for allowing foreigners to run the city government. The directors of finance and transportation for the city had both become naturalized U.S. citizens and were technically in violation of the nation's law that prohibited elected officials, government representatives, and civil servants from holding dual nationalities. The two men consulted with the mayor behind closed doors, then submitted their resignations. ZANU-PF wins easily Election officials announced that candidates of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) had won 63 of the 65 seats contested in the parliamentary elections held April 8-9. The ZANU-PF also won 55 uncontested seats in the 150-seat House of Assembly. Pres. Robert Mugabe, whose term was due to expire in 1996, directly controlled 20 additional seats through personal appointments. The remaining 10 seats were reserved for tribal chiefs. Some opposition groups boycotted the election, and they and others insisted that there had been blatant election fraud and that government harassment had made it impossible for their parties to campaign effectively. 16 Fishing dispute settled Acting on behalf of Spain, the European Union settled a bitter fishing dispute with Canada. The six-week-long confrontation over fishing rights in international waters off Newfoundland had reached such intensity that both Spain and Canada had sent gunboats into the area. Canadian authorities, claiming that fish stocks of turbot were dwindling because of overfishing, had taken matters into their own hands on March 9 by seizing a Spanish trawler at gunpoint. Canadians also cut the fish nets of another Spanish trawler, contending that it was exceeding international fishing quotas and hauling in too many small fish. The dispute was settled when both sides agreed to observe in the future the quotas assigned to each country by the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization. 18 Bolivia faces crisis With labour unions refusing to return to work until the government agreed to their demands, the Bolivian government reacted by declaring a 90-day state of siege. To stifle civil unrest, soldiers were deployed in the streets of major cities, public gatherings were proscribed, the right to bear arms was suspended, and travel within the country was restricted. The government also imposed a midnight-to-6 AM curfew. There was a report the following day that some 380 union members had been arrested. 19 Federal building destroyed In the worst act of terrorism in U.S. history, a huge car bomb virtually destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Okla. Six other nearby buildings were also heavily damaged by the explosion. The bodies of a dozen or more small children who had been in a second-floor day-care centre were among those confirmed dead shortly after rescue teams arrived at the scene. As many as 200 others were believed to be trapped beneath the wreckage, but firefighters had to proceed with great caution because the damaged structure was so unstable. Attorney General Janet Reno pledged to seek the death penalty if those who had committed the crime were apprehended. Just about 90 minutes after the bombing, Timothy McVeigh, a 27-year-old army veteran, was stopped by county police some 100 km (60 mi) from Oklahoma City for driving a car that had no license plates. Soon afterward, the FBI had reason to consider McVeigh a prime suspect in the bombing. Terrorists strike again More than 300 people were rushed to hospitals in Yokohama, Japan, after poisonous phosgene was released on a crowded train. The gas quickly spread throughout the city's main train station. Two days later several persons were overcome by acrid fumes in a nearby shopping centre. In both instances the victims complained of dizziness and had difficulty breathing. Police were unable to identify the perpetrators immediately, but suspicions centred on members of the Aum Shinrikyo religious sect, which was being intensely investigated in connection with the March 20 sarin attack in a Tokyo subway that had killed 12 persons and injured more than 5,500. 21 Stolen uranium seized Four Slovaks, three Hungarians, and two Ukrainians were arrested near Poprad, Slovakia, and charged with the illegal possession of radioactive material. Evidence indicated that the 17 kg (37.4 lb) of uranium were being transported from Ukraine to a location somewhere in Hungary. Laboratory tests would be used to determine whether the Slovak authorities had intercepted weapons-grade material. Past instances of smuggling radioactive material out of countries that were once part of the Soviet Union had caused international concern. 22 Rwandan Hutu massacred Thousands of Hutu in the Kibeho refugee camp in southwestern Rwanda were shot, bayoneted, or trampled to death when members of the Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic Army tried to force them to return to the homes they had abandoned when tribal warfare engulfed their country. Hoping to avoid being killed or maimed, a huge number of Rwandans had fled into neighbouring countries, but hundreds of thousands of others were housed in nine refugee camps set up by the French army. Violence had reached an unprecedented level in 1994. During April-August more than a million Rwandans were killed in the worst case of mass slaughter in African history. The Hutu, who comprised about 90% of the population, had tried to obliterate the Tutsi. The slaughter at Kibeho was attributed in large measure to fear on both sides of what the other might do. Denktash wins reelection In a runoff election, Rauf Denktash won a third term as president of the Turkish-controlled section of Cyprus. His opponent was Dervis Eroglu, former prime minister of the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). The nation was divided along ethnic lines in 1974 when Turkish troops intervened in order to prevent ethnic Greeks from seizing control of the entire island in a coup. Few governments, however, had recognized the TRNC as a legitimate political entity. In February the Greek Cypriot national assembly had voted unanimously to change the name of the divided capital of Nicosia to Lefkosia, the Greek pronunciation of the name Lefkosha, already used by Turkish Cypriots. 23 New coalition in Iceland Davd Oddsson, the prime minister of Iceland, announced that he had formed a new coalition government with the Progressive Party as junior partner. In the April 8 general election, his Independence Party had won a plurality of 25 seats in the 63-seat Althing (parliament), and the Progressives had gained control of 15. Oddsson's new Cabinet included Halldor Asgrimsson, a Progressive, who was given the post of foreign affairs minister. Like Oddsson, Asgrimsson was opposed to Iceland's entry into the European Union. Sudanese envoy expelled According to a Kampala radio report, Uganda broke off diplomatic relations with its neighbour The Sudan and ordered its ambassador to leave the country. The diplomat, whose residence had been surrounded by Ugandan police for several days, allegedly held a cache of weapons, which he refused to surrender. Tensions between the two nations had been gradually escalating over accusations that each country was supporting rebels trying to overthrow the other's government. 25 Mahathir retains power In general elections the 14-party National Front, headed by Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad, captured 162 of the 192 seats in Malaysia's House of Representatives. The landslide victory registered by the Front, which had dominated politics in Malaysia ever since the country became independent in 1957, meant that Mahathir's party could amend the constitution without being encumbered by dissenting views. The Front also swept to victory on the local level by winning two-thirds majorities in 10 of 11 state legislatures. 26 Churchill papers are sold The British government announced that it was purchasing Winston Churchill's pre-1945 papers for 12.5 million. The money would come largely from Britain's national lottery, with a small additional contribution from an American philanthropist. Those who opposed the sale argued that the writings of Britain's World War II prime minister properly belonged to the government. Churchill's widow, who disagreed, had already given her husband's post-1945 writings to the University of Cambridge, but she retained earlier papers as part of a family trust. 29 Nazarbayev to stay on In a national referendum, Kazakh voters agreed to extend the term of Pres. Nursultan Nazarbayev to the year 2000. The president had already dissolved Kazakhstan's Parliament and postponed the presidential election scheduled for 1996. Critics, however, scoffed at a report that more than 95% of the voters had supported the referendum. They declared that Nazarbayev, who was the only president the nation had had since it became independent of the Soviet Union in 1991, had now become a dictator. Chronology: AUGUST 2 Thai workers held captive In a predawn raid in El Monte, Calif., U.S. immigration officials freed about 70 Thai workers who had been held captive in a clothes factory surrounded by barbed wire fences. They were locked up and guarded at night and threatened with bodily harm if they tried to escape. The workers, moreover, had little or no hope of ever paying the debt they had incurred for being smuggled into the U.S. On August 15 state authorities reported that many of the manufacturers who had bought from the sweat shops were themselves operating illegally. Seven were fined $35,000 each, but twice that number were likely to face penalties before the investigation concluded. In similar raids on other factories in the Los Angeles area, federal officials found evidence that Asian gangs were controlling the operations. 7 Croatians retake Krajina In a lightning offensive that began on August 4, Croatian government troops recaptured the region of Krajina, which had fallen to Serbian troops several years earlier. Although the territory had been the home of ethnic Serbs for some five centuries, it became part of Croatia during World War II and remained in Croatian hands until the Serbs reclaimed it during the current conflict. Following the successful Croatian offensive, as many as 150,000 Serb civilians were forced to leave Krajina and seek refuge in Serbia or Serb-held areas in Bosnia and Herzegovina. There were reports of large-scale human rights violations on the part of Croatian soldiers seeking revenge for the atrocities their own people had endured at the hands of their enemies. 8 Defections shock Iraq Two of Pres. Saddam Hussein's sons-in-law were given political asylum in Jordan after fleeing Iraq with their wives and other senior military officers. Lieut. Gen. Hussein Kamel Hasan al-Majid, husband of the president's eldest daughter, had been responsible for building up Iraq's arsenal before the Persian Gulf War. His brother, Col. Saddam Kamel Hasan al-Majid, had been in charge of presidential security forces. Both had left Iraq on the pretext that they were traveling on an official visit to Bulgaria by way of Jordan. According to an unconfirmed report, another of Hussein's sons-in-law also defected with his wife. Jordanian King Hussein I, who had supported Iraq during the Persian Gulf War, announced that he would protect the defectors. On August 17 a Saudi newspaper reported in a front-page story that on the evening before the Kamel brothers left Iraq, a family feud had ended in gunfire. Six bodyguards were slain, and Hussein's half-brother was seriously wounded. 10 "Jane Roe" changes mind Norma McCorvey, who under the name "Jane Roe" had been the central figure in a landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling that permitted abortions, stunned both pro-choice and pro-life advocates by revealing during a radio interview in Dallas, Texas, that she no longer supported the right to abortion. She remarked, "I think I have always been pro-life. I just didn't know it." Two days earlier McCorvey had been baptized by the national leader of Operation Rescue, an antiabortion organization. Sarah Weddington, one of the lawyers who had represented McCorvey in the class-action suit argued before the Supreme Court in 1973, expressed the dismay of many proponents of abortion rights: "I'm shocked. At a time when we are working so hard . . . and not having much luck, I didn't need this one." Bombing suspects charged A federal grand jury in Oklahoma City, Okla., indicted Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, prime suspects in the April bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City that killed 169 persons. The two men had become friends in the army and reportedly shared antigovernment views. The 11-count indictment included a charge that the suspects had robbed a gun dealer in Arkansas to help finance their operation. Michael Fortier, another of McVeigh's friends from army days, pleaded guilty to lesser charges and agreed to reveal in court testimony what he knew about the bombing. 11 Nepal dam canceled Plans to construct a hydroelectric dam in eastern Nepal had to be shelved when the World Bank decided not to grant a promised $175 million loan. Its chief concern was that Nepal would not be able to find other backers for the $1 billion project, which was designed to generate 200 MW of power. Those who opposed the construction of Arun III argued that the cost of electricity would be prohibitive, that indigenous people would be displaced, and that endangered species would lose their habitats. Perot is host of convention Eager to win the political support of voters committed to former independent presidential candidate Ross Perot, virtually every important national politician except President Clinton attended a weekend convention at which Perot served as host in Dallas, Texas. All those invited to address 3,000 members of Perot's United We Stand America organization endorsed many of Perot's principles. Analysts viewed the gathering as a political phenomenon and an acknowledgment that it was politically risky to ignore the political force that Perot represented. 15 Murayama apologizes On the 50th anniversary of Japan's surrender at the end of World War II, Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama delivered a nationally televised speech that included an apology for his nation's wartime aggression. At one point he remarked, "Japan, following a mistaken national policy, advanced along the road to war, only to ensnare the Japanese people in a fateful crisis, and through its colonial rule and aggression caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations." Going well beyond the declaration of "deep remorse" that Japanese officials had previously expressed, Murayama declared, "In the hope that no such mistake be made in the future, I regard, in a spirit of humility, these irrefutable facts of history, and express here once again my feelings of deep remorse and state my heartfelt apology." Brazilian peasants slain A Roman Catholic cleric reported by phone that landless peasants in the west central Brazilian state of Rondnia had been killed in a clash with police on August 9. A bishop in the area believed that the death toll could be as high as 75. There were reasons to suspect that the bodies of the victims had been burned and then buried. Violence had erupted when police attempted to evict some 1,300 landless labourers from a jungle estate they had taken over. Witnesses claimed that police had arrested the leader of the peasants, Srgio Rodrigues Gomes, but there was no record that he had been jailed. 16 Bermuda remains colony Voters in the self-governing British colony of Bermuda rejected a referendum that would have made the territory an independent nation. Only one-quarter of the voters backed Prime Minister John Swan, who had pledged to resign if independence was not approved. Those favouring the status quo argued that a British presence enhanced stability, which contributed to Bermuda's expanding financial services sector and fostered tourism, the island's principal source of income. Three Indonesians freed On the eve of Indonesia's 50th anniversary of independence, President Suharto ordered the release of three political prisoners who had been jailed for nearly 30 years. The group included Subandrio, who had been the country's foreign minister; Omar Dhani, former air force commander; and Raden Sugent Sutarto, the former head of intelligence. All had been accused of supporting a pro-communist movement that led to a bloody upheaval in 1965. The violence caused some 300,000 deaths and led to Sukarno's political demise and Suharto's rise to power. 17 McDougals indicted James McDougal and his ex-wife, Susan, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Little Rock, Ark., on charges of bank fraud and conspiracy. President Clinton and his wife, Hillary, had been their partners in the Whitewater Development Corp., a real estate venture that was under investigation. Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker, who had already been charged in June with irregularities in the Whitewater affair, was further charged with fraud in the new indictment. A total of 14 people had thus far either pleaded guilty or been indicted, but the Clintons had not been charged with any crime. One of the prime goals of the investigation was to determine whether funds from Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan, which McDougal owned before its collapse, had been illegally diverted to the Clinton gubernatorial campaigns in Arkansas in the 1980s. 18 Female quits academy Shannon Faulkner, who had waged a legal battle for more than two years to become the first female cadet at the Citadel, withdrew from the Charleston, S.C., military academy just five days after being enrolled. Some 30 other cadets also acknowledged during the first week of training that they could not meet the physical demands of the academy, but Faulkner got all the attention. While recognizing that many men as well as women would be disappointed that she had failed, Faulkner expressed a hope that other young women would seek admission to the Citadel. 19 Liberia embraces peace During negotiations in Abuja, Nigeria, the leaders of various Liberian factions agreed to end five years of hostilities. A major obstacle to peace was removed when all consented to have Wilton Sankawulo serve as chairman of the Council of State in place of nonagenarian Chief Tamba Tailor. Of equal importance was an agreement that Charles Taylor, rebel leader of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia, would have a role in the interim government. The council would also include, besides Chief Tailor, Alhaji Kromah, leader of the Ulimo-K faction and chief rival of Taylor; George Boley, head of the Liberia Peace Council; and Oscar Quiah of the Liberian National Conference. Hopes rose that democratic elections would bring an end to the fighting, which had already claimed some 150,000 lives. 21 Deane to represent queen Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating announced that he would nominate Sir William Deane to succeed Bill Hayden when he retired as governor-general on Feb. 15, 1996. The governor-general, who represented Queen Elizabeth II, Australia's head of state, had no significant power, but Deane, whose appointment was certain to win royal approval, would be involved in the current debate over whether Australia should retain its ties to the British throne or become a republic. Deane, a High Court judge, had no political affiliation and was highly regarded by members of all political parties. 23 Sudan to free detainees The state radio of The Sudan reported that the National Security Council, headed by Pres. Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, had decided to release all political prisoners within a few days. The most prominent detainee was former prime minister Sadiq al-Mahdi, whose elected government had been toppled by Bashir in a June 1989 bloodless coup. Mahdi subsequently had been accused of involvement in an antigovernment plot but was never charged. Promising that parliamentary and presidential elections would be held in 1996, the government urged all opposition leaders living abroad to return home so they might be able "to contribute to security and stability in the country." 24 China expels Harry Wu After being convicted of "spying, illegally obtaining, buying, and providing state secrets to overseas institutions, organizations, and people, and of passing himself off as a government worker for deceptive activities," Harry Hongda Wu, a naturalized U.S. citizen, was sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment by a court in Wuhan, China, and then expelled. He was put on a Chinese plane and flown to San Francisco. Wu had immigrated to the U.S. in 1985 after spending 19 years (1960-79) in Chinese labour camps for criticizing the Communist Party and the 1956 Soviet invasion of Hungary. Posing as a businessman, Wu returned to China for the first time in 1991 to make secret videotapes of prison conditions and inmates producing products for export. On his latest trip he was identified and detained when he tried to enter China from Kazakhstan. His U.S. passport was stamped with a valid Chinese visa. Windows 95 debuts Amid much fanfare and a multimillion-dollar worldwide advertising campaign, U.S. software maker Microsoft Corp. released Windows 95, the long-awaited upgrade to its popular Windows computer operating environment. Customers in some countries stood in line for hours waiting for stores to admit them, and many retailers opened at midnight. Windows 95, which incorporated 32-bit addressing, preemptive multitasking, a revamped graphic user interface, and other enhancements, faced resistance from those who were reluctant to buy the hardware upgrades needed to take full advantage of Windows 95's capabilities. By year's end, however, Microsoft had sold an estimated 18 million-20 million copies. 25 Criminal court on hold After two weeks of discussions, the United Nations decided that the formation of an international criminal court needed to be studied more carefully during the fall session of the General Assembly. The jurisdiction and functions of the new tribunal would differ from those of the International Court of Justice in The Hague and would be concerned with war crimes, genocide, and other crimes against humanity. Currently, these ad hoc tribunals were authorized to deal with only those atrocities that were committed in Rwanda and former Yugoslavia. 28 Serbs shell marketplace Despite dire warning from NATO that it would bomb Serb military targets if Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, or any other UN-designated "safe area" came under attack, the Bosnian Serbs fired mortar into the city's crowded marketplace. At least 37 civilians were killed and more than 80 wounded. On August 30 and 31, 60 NATO aircraft carried out bombing missions against Serb positions on the outskirts of Sarajevo. UN and NATO leaders had agreed that retaliation was their only option if they hoped to retain their credibility. President Clinton described the air strikes as "the right response to the savagery in Sarajevo." 29 Shevardnadze targeted A large car bomb was detonated in the inner courtyard of the Parliament building in T'bilisi, Georgia, in an attempt to kill Eduard Shevardnadze, Georgia's de facto head of state and leader of Parliament. He survived the attempted assassination with only minor injuries. Shevardnadze had traveled to the legislature to affix his signature to a new constitution that restored the presidency and invested it with enhanced powers. He had already disclosed that he would seek the presidency in the November election. Following the attack, tanks and armoured personnel carriers patrolled the streets of the capital, but Parliament declined to follow the advice of many and declare a state of emergency. Chronology: DECEMBER 1 Defense bill passed Facing the possibility that Congress would refuse to fund the deployment of U.S. troops in Bosnia and Herzegovina if he adhered to his promise to veto a defense bill that was far larger than he wanted, President Clinton allowed the $243.3 billion 1996 Defense Department bill to become law automatically without his signature. On November 16 the House of Representatives had passed the bill by a vote of 270-158 and the Senate by a vote of 59-39. 2 KMT loses ground Under the leadership of Lee Teng-hui, president of the Republic of China on Taiwan, the ruling Kuomintang (KMT; Nationalist Party) lost ground in an election to fill seats in the Legislative Yuan. The KMT captured 85 of the 164 seats, the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) 54, the New Party 21, and independents 4. Following the election a proposal was made to abandon the practice of assigning all three top seats in the Legislative Yuan to the ruling party. Instead, the president would come from the ranks of the KMT, the vice president from the DPP, and the secretary-general from the New Party. To free the top two legislators from political pressure, it was suggested that they temporarily resign their party membership. Attention, however, was already shifting to March 1996, when the president would, for the first time, be directly elected by the people. 3 Chun Doo Hwan arrested South Korean police arrested former president Chun Doo Hwan on charges of having orchestrated the December 1979 military coup that brought him to power. Roh Tae Woo, an old friend of Chun's from their days in the military and his successor as president, had recently been indicted on charges of bribery. He was also being questioned about his and Chun's roles in the May 1980 massacre of pro-democracy protesters in the city of Kwangju. An investigation of the incident already had been concluded and a decision made not to prosecute either man. Pres. Kim Young Sam then declared the matter finished, but popular resentment kept the incident alive. After his arrest Chun became defiant and went on a hunger strike. On the 26th day he collapsed and was placed on a life-support system. 4 UAW ends long strike Despite vociferous objections by some 8,700 striking union employees, officials of the United Automobile Workers union (UAW) called an end to a strike against Caterpillar that had lasted 17 months without significantly affecting the Peoria, Ill.-based firm's production or profits. In June 1994 about 14,000 union workers had walked off their jobs after being without a contract since 1991. Temporary hires, administrative personnel, and eventually some 4,000 former employees who decided to cross the picket lines were able to produce the company's earth-moving equipment. When the strike ended, Caterpillar promised that all those who had been on strike could return to work, but it was not clear what each one's assignment would be. 5 Solana to head NATO After weeks of wrangling, NATO's ministers formally agreed that Javier Solana Madariaga would replace Willy Claes as secretary-general of the organization. As the foreign minister of Spain, Solana had been involved in all the discussions that had taken place about NATO's role in the post-Cold War period and about requests to expand NATO's membership to include countries that had belonged to the Eastern bloc. During the meeting, France announced that it was rejoining NATO's military committee, which it had left in 1966 on orders from Pres. Charles de Gaulle. His policy of "national independence" had excluded all agreements except those between nation-states. 6 Egypt holds election In the second round of parliamentary elections, Egypt's governing National Democratic Party (NDP) solidified its hold on power by reportedly adding 193 seats to the 124 it had won in the first round of balloting on November 29. The nation's interior minister announced on December 7 that independents would occupy 114 seats, leaving only 13 seats for members of minor parties. Because the NDP had unchallenged control of the People's Assembly, Pres. Hosni Mubarak was in a position to run unopposed when he sought reelection in 1997. 7 Strike cripples France Hundreds of thousands of French public-sector workers continued the strike they had initiated on November 24 to protest Prime Minister Alain Jupp's plan to cut welfare spending in order to balance the federal budget. As time passed, the transportation union received growing support from teachers, hospital workers, bank employees, airline personnel, and others sympathetic to their cause. With trains, subways, and buses not operating, most students were unable to get to their schools, and workers had no way to reach their jobs. Virtually every aspect of French life was affected one way or another. During a huge rally in Paris on December 5, protesters overturned cars and clashed with police. On December 10 Jupp made another effort to settle the strike by offering to meet face to face with union leaders. Nothing had been definitively solved when by December 15 many workers had decided to return to their jobs. Neither side had achieved all it had hoped for. 8 Religious law tightened During a plenary session of Japan's House of Councillors, the nation's Religious Corporation Law was revised to allow the government to scrutinize religious groups more intently. Among other things, jurisdiction over religious corporations operating in more than one prefecture would shift to the Education Ministry, and all religious corporations would be required to submit annual reports listing their senior officers and financial assets. The Education Ministry, moreover, had the right to grant authorities permission to question, and demand reports from, a religious group when its activities came under suspicion and there was reason to consider ordering it to disband. Soka Gakkai, the nation's largest lay Buddhist organization, vigorously opposed the new law, as did also Shinshinto, the main opposition party, which received substantial support from Soka Gakkai. 9 Mfume gets NAACP post The board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) unanimously elected Kweisi Mfume its top executive officer. Mfume said that in February 1996 he would resign from Congress, where he had been chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, to assume responsibility for the "financial, political, and spiritual health" of the NAACP. The group's reputation had been sullied by financial scandals involving former top executives, and the organization was more than $3 million in debt. Mfume asked for and received the title president and chief executive officer as well as the enhanced authority he felt was needed to carry out his responsibilities. 11 PNA to govern Nabulus With the approval of Shimon Peres, who had replaced the late Yitzhak Rabin as prime minister of Israel, responsibility for the local administration of Nabulus, the largest city in the West Bank, was turned over to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). The departure of Israeli troops after 28 years of occupation kept the peace process on course and assured everyone that Peres would continue the policies Rabin had established. Nabulus, known as a centre of ardent nationalism, was in fact the fourth West Bank city to gain limited autonomy. The enclave of Jericho had been the first, in May 1994. In recent weeks Janin and then Tulkarm had been turned over to the PNA. Terrorists admit guilt Two Japanese men, former members of the religious cult Aum Shinrikyo, admitted in court that they had released toxic sarin gas in Tokyo subway trains in March with the intention of committing indiscriminate murder. The gas killed 12 persons and injured thousands of others. Prosecutors had concluded that 10 persons were directly involved in the attack, 5 who released the gas and 5 who drove them to the subway stations. The men said they had acted on orders from Shoko Asahara, who was in prison charged with murder and other crimes. 13 EU-Turkey trade pact During a meeting in France, the European Parliament, the legislative branch of the European Union (EU), approved a customs pact with Turkey. By adopting many of the regulations governing trade within the EU, Turkey would be allowed to participate in the EU market as an outsider. Critics cited Turkey's treatment of separatist Kurds as evidence of its disregard for human rights and argued that such conduct should exclude it from membership in the EU. Others, however, pointed to the reforms Turkey had initiated and argued that membership in the EU would bolster its fledgling democracy. 14 Peace agreement signed During a ceremony in Paris, the four-year civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina officially came to an end when the presidents of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Croatia affixed their signatures to a peace agreement. A vital provision of the accord called for the deployment of 60,000 NATO troops, whose mission would be to maintain peace by keeping the former combatants apart. The U.S. contingent of 20,000 men was the largest single military group, but numerous other nations, notably Great Britain and France, were contributing military support. The U.S. Congress held heated debates about U.S. participation, which President Clinton insisted was absolutely essential to keep the peace initiative from total collapse. Congress finally supported the measure, but in some cases congressmen--believing that Clinton had the authority to dispatch the troops with or without congressional approval--indicated that their vote was a gesture of support for the troops but not for Clinton's policy. 15 ASEAN is nuclear-free The seven members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) concluded a two-day meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, after signing a pact declaring their region a nuclear-free zone. The declaration prohibited the "possession, manufacture, and acquisition" of nuclear weapons in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Cambodia and Laos, which had only observer status, and Myanmar (Burma), which hoped to obtain that status, also signed the document. 17 Russians elect Duma Incomplete tallies of the votes cast in an election to fill the 450 seats in Russia's State Duma indicated that the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, under the leadership of Gennady Zyuganov, had won control of a large percentage of the seats. Its candidates blamed the government for Russia's decline. The second largest bloc was expected to be the Liberal Democratic Party, led by ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky. Although the reformists--followers of Pres. Boris Yeltsin and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin--did not have the strength to challenge the major political blocs in the State Duma, government policies were not likely to be much affected by the election because the Russian president had constitutional powers that far exceeded those of the State Duma. Austrians go to polls Following the breakup of Austria's ruling coalition, voters gave the Social Democrats of Chancellor Franz Vranitzky 38.3% of the vote (an increase of 3.4% over 1994) and the People's Party 28.3% (a 0.6% increase). The Freedom Party retained the 22.1% it had before the election. Losses were suffered by the environmentalist Greens and the Liberal Party. It appeared that the Social Democratic Party and the People's Party would reunite in a new coalition early in 1996. 18 Security pact signed With Indonesian President Suharto and Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating presiding over the ceremony, the foreign ministers of their two countries signed a mutual security pact in Jakarta, Indonesia's capital. The two nations agreed to foster "such cooperation as would benefit their own security and that of the region," but the treaty did not oblige either country to assist the other militarily during an emergency. There was heated criticism of Keating, both at home and abroad, for signing a treaty with a nation whose annexation of the former Portuguese colony of East Timor had never been recognized by the United Nations and whose military operations against East Timorese dissidents had been denounced repeatedly by human rights organizations. Seal quotas raised Brian Tobin, Canada's minister of fisheries, announced in Nova Scotia that beginning in 1996, seal hunters would be allowed to harvest up to 250,000 seals annually along Canada's Atlantic coast. The new quota amounted to an increase of about 30% over the present limit. Dismissing protests from animal rights protesters, Tobin said that the country's harp seal population had doubled to 4.8 million since 1982 and that seals were at least partly responsible for shrinking stocks of cod and other fish in Canada's coastal waters. The shortage had led to a moratorium on fishing certain species, which in turn resulted in financial losses for commercial fishermen. 20 Queen urges divorce Buckingham Palace confirmed that earlier in the month Queen Elizabeth II had sent letters to her son, Prince Charles, and to his wife, Diana, urging them to seek a divorce as quickly as possible. The royal couple's failed marriage had been almost daily fodder for tabloids all over the world. After the two announced their separation, they were hounded everywhere they went. In November Di

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