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 19 - 26 May 1997

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Zaire ditches dictator

The dictator Mobutu Sese Seko's regime in Zaire is over. His opponent Laurent Kabila is set to take over, although there are doubts about the capability of his AFDL (Alliance of Democratic Forces for Liberation of the Congo) and its motives. It is nevertheless hoped that he will act as a unifying force in the country after the civil unrest.

Related sites:
UN Home Page
Zaire Watch
Reuters news

G7 set to expand

Japan has said it is now willing for Russia to join the G7 states. The Asian power has been the only country to oppose Russia's entry, due to a dispute over ownership of the Kurile islands north of Japan. Russia may now be able to attend the Denver summit in June which will be known as the 'Summit of the Eight', although some purely Western affairs will still be discussed. The West wants to give Russia some ground in return for their acceptance of the expansion of NATO.

Related sites:
Russia Today
G7 sites
Reuters news

Turkey encroaches on Kurdish rebel territory

Concern was raised at Turkish troops' incursion into Iraq's northern territory in a move against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Tanks moved in and F-16 jets bombed rebel positions in the mountains and observers fear an escalation of violence.

Related sites:
Iraqi/Kurdish relationship

Indonesian pre-election turbulence

Indonesia prepares for parliamentary elections on 29 May, but supporters of its opposing parties have been less than well behaved in the run-up to the big day. Officials say mass rallies may have to be banned if supporters continue to clash with each other. It is currently expected that the Golkar party will be re-elected for a sixth term.

Related sites:
Indonesian news

Sleaze re-emerges in new British Government

The new British Prime Minister Tony Blair has run into trouble shortly after his election, as allegations of sleaze have emerged against a member of his Government. It is alleged that Mohammed Sarwar had paid money to a political opponent to rig his election win to the Glasgow Govan seat in Scotland. Enquiries are currently taking place to determine culpability.

Related sites:
The Labour Party

Irish Orangemen agree to talks on marches

Hopes of an end to the marching season violence in Ireland have been raised by the announcement by SDLP leader John Hume that he is to bring together talks between the loyalists and nationalists involved in last years Dumcree stand-off. Hume said he met the Grand Master of the Orange Order, Robert Saulters. Even as he made his statement, however, violence erupted in Northern Ireland as more than 200 Orangemen clashed with police in an attempt to march through the mainly Catholic village of Dunloy, County Antrim.

Related sites:
CAIN: Conflict Archive on the Internet
RUC Online
Sinn Fein

Cook visits US

Robin Cook, Britain's new Foreign Secretary, paid a visit to Washington to open relations between the Clinton Administration and the new Government. Labour wants to restore a special relationship with America that suffered after the Tory Government sought to help George Bush in the 1992 presidential campaign. Cook has said he believes the US will see Britain as a more valuable ally if she emerges as a strong force within Europe.

Related sites:
The Labour Party
The Whitehouse

Iran's dispute with Germany worsens

Europe's relations with Tehran looked set to be put on hold after Iran's Foreign Minister insisted that the German Government 'rectify' a recent decision by a Berlin court accusing Iran's most senior officials of authorising the murder of four Iranian dissidents. Ali Akbar Valayati's words were thought to signify that no German ambassador will be allowed in Tehran unless the court's verdict is reversed.

Related sites:
Der Spiegel (in German)
ARD Online (in German)
Iranian/Persian links

Clinton crusades for Aids vaccine

President Bill Clinton attempted to revitalise the search for a vaccine for Aids by pledging to make it a 'national goal' and to set up a new research centre to help reach it. He said at a speech at Morgan State University that an Aids vaccine would be found, and that it should be the first great triumph of the 21st century.

Related sites:
NOAH AIDS/HIV resources
The Whitehouse

250 rebels killed in Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan security forces have killed about 250 Tamil Tiger rebels and captured two northern towns in an air raid and artillery attack.

Related sites:
Tamil sites
Sri Lanka info

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