A weekly digest covering major political and economic developments around the world, continent by continent and personality by personality.

News round-up for the week of 16 - 23 June 1997

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EU row over stability pact

A Franco-German dispute over the single currency 'stability pact' has so far overshadowed the Amsterdam summit, turning it into a test of credibility for the euro. A commitment to budgetary discipline was enshrined in the stability pact which EU leaders, including French President Jacques Chirac, agreed to six months ago in Dublin. But the new French Government has demanded more time to study the pact, undermining German confidence in France's commitment to budgetary rigour.

Related sites:
The German Economy
The Euro
French Socialist Party

Protests in Paris

France's Socialist-led Government faced protest marches by tens of thousands of demonstrators in Paris, as the French public called on it to live up to the promises it made when it won the election a week before. A European employment march and the arrival of marching immigrants put further pressure on the Government to come up with more jobs and soften immigration laws quickly.

Related sites:
French Socialist Party

Foreign Legion deployed in Brazzaville

The French Foreign Legion landed in Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo, to rescue hundreds of trapped foreigners caught in a conflict between the forces of the former and current Presidents. The unrest began on June 5 when President Pascal Lissouba sent Government forces to disarm Denis Sassou-Nguesso's Cobra militia. The current President said he had been trying to avert violence before July 27 Presidential elections in which both men are candidates.

Related sites:
Foreign Legion - unofficial

Court rejects appeal for Netanyahu's indictment

Israel's Supreme Court rejected an appeal by opponents of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to overrule prosecutors and indict him for fraud in the scandal over Roni Bar-On. The high court said prosecutors acted reasonably when they decided not to indict Netanyahu despite recommendations by the police that he be charged. The scandal revolved round the Prime Minister's appointment of political ally Roni Bar-On as Attorney General in January.

Related sites:
The Jerusalem Post

Microsoft, Netscape team up in Web privacy battle

Microsoft and Netscape stunned the computer industry when they announced an alliance aimed at more tightly controlling Internet users' privacy. The two rivals are working together towards an 'open profiling standard' under which new Web software will allow computer users to determine what sort of personal information they are willing to share with business Websites. The move follows concern over the way commercial site-owners can currently track a computer user's personal details and preferences, and then sell them to advertisers.

Related sites:

Gingrich enrages Palestinians

Palestinian leaders reacted furiously to a speech made by US House Speaker Newt Gingrich in which he called for a stop on aid to Palestinians in protest at the killing of Arab land dealers who sell properties to Jews. Gingrich compared the killings with the kind of action taken by the Nazis.

Related sites:
Palestine Information Centre
Newt Gingrich Home Page

Sierra Leone insurgents demand pay-off to step down

The army officers ruling Sierra Leone have demanded a pay-off to step down and allow the civilian government they deposed to return to power, according to Sierra Leone's ambassador to the UN.

Related sites:
Sierra Leone Headlines

Australia experimented on orphans

Australia was shocked by the disclosure that hundreds of children in orphanages and care homes in the state of Victoria were used as guinea pigs in secret medical experiments for 25 years up to 1970. The experiments included trials of new vaccines for herpes, whooping cough and influenza, and were designed to test for toxic reactions. Some of the vaccines used on children had failed safety tests on animals, according to the newspaper The Age.

Related sites:
Australian news

Meyer launches new movement in SA

Roelf Meyer, the National Party's chief negotiator before the 1994 election, has left the party and joined forces with ANC rebel Bantu Holomisa to form the 'New Movement Process.' Meyer said South Africa needs a new, truly non-racial party which represent the ideals and beliefs of most South Africans.

Related sites:
SA Mail and Guardian

Clinton calls for national race debate

President Bill Clinton has said that the state of race relations will be the most important issue to face America as it heads into the next century. In an interview for CNN, he said America must face the question of how to become the world's first truly multi-racial democracy.

Related sites:
The Whitehouse

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