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16 March 2000 Edition

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World news

The Hague



The prosecution in the trial of Bosnian Serb General Radislav Krstic has painted a graphic picture of the sites where up to 9,000 people were slaughtered after the fall of Srebrenica.

Gen Krstic (52) the former right-hand man of Gen Ratko Mladic and former Bosnian Serb leader Mr Radovan Karadzic, is accused of masterminding the massacre. The prosecution at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague has described the killings as Europe's worst atrocity since the Second World War.

If found guilty, Gen Krstic could receive a maximum life sentence.

Pakistan



Women, children, and members of minority ethnic and religious groups in Pakistan live in grim circumstances, according to a human rights report released on Wednesday 15 March.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said more than 1,000 women were killed last year in the name of honour, with the killings justified by reasons as flimsy as a woman sitting next to a man who was not a relative.

``The most frequent killers by far were brothers, followed by husbands,'' the commission said in its annual report for 1999. ``More than 15% of the victims in (the eastern state of) Punjab were minors.''

The independent organisation sharply criticised the elected governments that have ruled this impoverished nation of 140 million in the 1990s and condemned last year's military takeover.

Palestine



On Wednesday 15 March, Israel's security Cabinet narrowly approved a long-overdue Israeli troop withdrawal from 6.1% of the West Bank, clearing the way for a resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians in Washington next week.

Prime Minister Ehud Barak presented to the ministers a heavily revised withdrawal map that did not include the Arab village of Anata on the border of Jerusalem.

Barak initially planned to hand Anata to Palestinian control, but backed down because of vehement protests from hard-line Zionists and reportedly also threats by some members of his coalition to bring down the government.

The map was approved 5-3, with one abstention.

Mozambique



Southern African leaders have called on the international community to cancel Mozambique's foreign debts so the flood-ravaged nation can channel its limited resources into reconstruction.

Mozambique was one of the world's poorest nations even before floods last month killed at least 492 people, left 330,000 homeless and caused an estimated $250 million in damage to roads, bridges, railways and buildings.

Some Western nations have said they will write off loans to Mozambique, but seven southern African leaders who gathered on Tuesday 14 March in the capital, Maputo, said all the debts should be cancelled.

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