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October 11, 1995
Web posted at: 1:15 p.m. EDT (1715 GMT)

China displeased as Hong King makes political history


HONG KONG (CNN) -- Hong Kong's last and most democratic colonial legislature was sworn into office Wednesday, just 629 days before Beijing resumes sovereignty over the territory. China bitterly opposed democratic reforms enacted last year that culminated last month in the first fully elected legislature in Hong Kong's history. Beijing has sworn to dismantle the council and replace it with one of its own design after it takes control of the British colony on July 1, 1997.

Hong Kong map

Hong Kong will suffer, Gov. Chris Patten told the legislature, if China dissolves the legislature. But Patten promised to give his full cooperation to whomever Beijing names to succeed him. China is expected to declare its choice for chief executive sometime next year.

Nobel chemistry, physics prizes awarded

Nobel graphic

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (CNN) -- Five scientists, four of them Americans, won Nobel prizes Wednesday. Martin Perl and Frederick Reines were honored for their work in physics, specifically their pioneering discoveries on subatomic particles. Mario Molina and F. Sherwood Rowland, along with Paul Crutzen of the Netherlands, won the Nobel prize for chemistry. They were cited for their work on atmospheric chemistry that led to new knowledge on the destruction of the ozone layer.

Perl said the prize was unexpected and gave credit to his follow workers at Stanford University, where he is a professor. Reines is professor emeritus at the University of California-Irvine. Rowland also is at U.C.-Irvine. Crutzen works at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Germany. Molina is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Nearly 900 Palestinian prisoners accept freedom

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israel said Wednesday nearly 900 Palestinians had been freed from jails this week as part of last month's agreement aimed at bringing peace with the PLO. Israel, which holds about 5,000 Palestinian prisoners, agreed to free about 1,000 of them in the first phase of a three-stage release.

The PLO predicted many prisoners would refuse to leave jail to show solidarity with inmates left behind. But Israel said it knew of only three such cases involving criminal offenses. A spokesman for the Israeli military was checking to see if any prisoners held for security reasons also had refused to leave.

Israel will not free five women inmates, saying they had Jewish blood on their hands. In protest, all but one of the Palestinian women prisoners released earlier this week refused to leave.

U.N. shakeup gives Bosnia new envoy


UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali announced Tuesday his special representative to the former Yugoslavia, Yasushi Akashi, has been reassigned.

A U.N. spokesman said the move was requested by Akashi, who has been criticized in some diplomatic circles for hesitancy to approve air strikes in response to Bosnian Serb aggression.

Kofi Annan, the undersecretary general for peacekeeping, will temporarily replace Akashi as envoy to the former Yugoslavia area and liaison to NATO.

Ishmat Kattani will assume Annan's role at headquarters in New York as leader of the Department of Peacekeeping, while Akashi will take Kittani's job as advisor to the secretary general in New York.

Spokesman Joe Sills said if there were an equivalent of the purple heart for U.N. service, "Mr. Akashi should get it for his service in the former Yugoslavia and Cambodia."

Yeltsin treads lightly in Chechnya

Yeltsin and 

MOSCOW (CNN) -- Russian President Boris Yeltsin said Tuesday he will not declare a state of emergency in the Chechen capital of Grozny despite several bomb attacks there.

After talks with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, Yeltsin said the government would try to stabilize the fragile situation by other means. A bomb attack Friday severely injured Russia's top commander in Chechnya. It was the second attack on a top Russian official in three weeks.

Kasparov keeps world chess crown


NEW YORK (Reuters) -- Russian Garry Kasparov successfully defended his title in the Professional Chess Association World Championship match when he and Viswanathan Anand of India agreed to a draw in their 18th match on Tuesday.

According to the rules, 1 point is awarded per win, while a draw garners for one 1/2 a point. The Russian finished with 10 1/2 points after four wins and 13 draws. Kasparov's prize will total almost $1 million. Anand, who won only one game, had accumulated only 7 1/2 points after 18 games. He will receive about $500,000.

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Sentence reduced for former Nigerian leader

LAGOS, Nigeria (CNN) -- Nigeria reduced Tuesday a life sentence for its former head of state, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo.

The information ministry said Obasanjo would now serve only 15 years in prison for plotting to overthrow the government in March. Nigeria's Information Ministry reported that the sentences of 41 others accused of taking part in the coup plot had also been reduced.

Nigeria's military leader, Gen. Sani Abacha, commuted the sentences in an Independence Day broadcast following widespread international protest of the earlier sentence.


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AP contributed to this report.