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 30 June to 7 July 1997

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HK prepares for handover

British Governor Chris Patten left Government House for the last time on Monday, beginning the final round of ceremonies leading up to the colony's handover to China. In China, the anticipation of the handover brought together the largest crowds in Beijing's Tiananmen Square since the 1989 pro-democracy uprising.

Related sites:
HK Democratic Foundation
The People's Daily (China)

Albania election marred by violence

Albania's elections, which many hoped would bring an end to the state of anarchy that has engulfed the country since March, were marred by tens of incidents of intimidation by gangs and the murder of an official. The president of the local electoral commission was shot dead at a polling booth in the town of Fier, 75 miles south of Tirana. President Sali Berisha's ruling Democratic Party accused supporters of the opposition Socialists of the murder.

Related sites:
Albanian.com: general information on Albania and its citizens
The Albanian Politic
Albania Crisis 97 News Centre

US Supreme Court rules Net decency law unconstitutional

In an important decision on Internet censorship, the US Supreme Court has ruled that the Communications Decency Act (CDA) is unconstitutional. The court sided with earlier rulings barring enforcement of the 1996 legislation, which Congress passed without hearings as a last-minute addition to the sweeping Telecommunications Act. The CDA was intended to protect society, especially children, from sexually graphic material transmitted through the Internet, but opponents of the bill argued it was too vague.

Related sites:
Federal Communications Commission
Justices of the Supreme Court

Mir space station in parking bump

The lives of astronauts on the ageing Mir space station were endangered by a spectacular collision in space. A cargo vessel veered out of control, hitting the Russian station twice to puncture its skin and send air rushing out into space. The crew was alerted by the noise and sensation of depressurisation, but were able to successfully seal off the damaged section. It was the worst accident in Mir's history.

Related sites:
Mir Space Station

World Bank agrees to green action

The World Bank and one of its harshest environmental critics signed an agreement aimed at protecting a huge area of forest. Under the £200 million deal with the World Wide Fund for Nature, the bank will finance the establishment of protected areas and national parks which will cover at least 10 per cent of the world's major types of forest by the year 2000. The money will be spent on developing the capacity of Third World countries' forest services.

Related sites:
World Bank Group
World Wide Fund for Nature

Clinton pledges $1 bn to stop global warming

President Clinton pledged US$1 billion at the Earth Summit to help developing countries to fight global warming. However his four-point plan did not include specific targets for capping greenhouse gases, despite mounting pressure from United Nations delegates assessing results from the 1992 Rio environmental conference. Clinton also called for a million solar power units to be installed in the US by 2010.

Related sites:
The Whitehouse
Earth Summit

Sharif moves to tackle violence

Pakistan's Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, met the army chief to discuss violence that is threatening the country's stability. Sharif is thought to be in need of the army's help to tackle lawlessness arising from anti-American feeling and Islamic Fundamentalism. In Karachi, internal conflicts between factions of the Muhajir Qaumi Movement (MQM) have led to ten deaths.

Related sites:
DAWN - Pakistan news

Ahern becomes youngest Irish PM

Bernie Ahern became the youngest Prime Minister in the Irish Republic's 75-year history yesterday after securing the support of Sinn Fein and an independent MP who has demanded British withdrawal from Northern Ireland. The Fianna Fail leader was just short of a majority after the election three weeks ago. The new Taoiseach, who is 53, said the search for a settlement in Ulster would be his first priority.

Related sites:
The Irish Times
Fianna Gail Home Page

Mowlam warns of Dumcree confrontation

Mo Mowlam, Britain's Northern Ireland Secretary, warned of an eruption of violence across the province if Orangemen and nationalists did not 'pull back from the brink' and compromise over the coming Sunday's Drumcree parade. In an interview for Sunday Life newspaper she said some people were determined to push Northern Ireland over the brink, and that everyone would pay a high price if they succeeded. However hopes of a deal between the two sides dwindled as proximity talks chaired by Miss Mowlam collapsed.

Related sites:
Ireland Conflict Archive (CAIN)
British Government

Kohl on collision course with partners

Germany's Chancellor Kohl and his Bavarian coalition partners were on a collision course over the conditions for joining the euro. Edmund Stoiber, head of the provincial Government in Munich, warned Kohl that the whole of the Christian Social Union - the Bavarian sister party to Mr Kohl's Christian Democrats - would resist a weak euro.

Related sites:
The German Economy
The Euro

News Archive

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