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News Briefs

November 10, 1995
Web posted at: 11:50 p.m. EST (0450 GMT)

Mona Sahlin

Sweden's deputy prime minister resigns

STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Deputy Prime Minister Mona Sahlin, Sweden's top candidate for prime minister, quit her post Friday amid accusations that she had charged personal items to her government credit card.

Sahlin, 38, said she was also withdrawing as a candidate for leader of the ruling Social Democratic Party.

Had Sahlin replaced Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson, who is stepping down next summer, she would have been the country's first woman leader. Her departure now leaves a gaping void in the party, which is now without a candidate to succeed Carlsson.

Sahlin was accused of using her government credit card to pay for, among other things, a vacation rental car, chocolate and baby diapers. Though she had repaid the money before it was reported in a local newspaper, public opinion was unforgiving.

Kashmir elections in jeopardy

NEW DELHI, India -- India's election commission on Friday rejected Prime Minister Narasimha Rao's plan to hold elections in the strife-torn state of Kashmir.

The Election Commission said the violent climate in Kashmir did not promise a fair vote.

Rao had wanted to hold elections in December, but most political parties opposed the plan.

Analysts said the federal government will now probably extend direct rule over Kashmir, which has long been shattered by separatist violence.

Many Kashmir residents oppose the elections, seeing them as a ploy to avoid a vote on independence from India.

Arianne rocket launch postponed

KOUROU, French Guiana -- Friday's scheduled launch of an Ariane rocket from Kourou, French Guiana, has been postponed, according to an Arianespace spokeswoman.

A new launch date will not be announced until sometime next week. The cause of the delay is due to unspecified technical problems, according to the spokeswomen.


Former Dutch prime minister withdraws from NATO race

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (CNN) -- The Dutch government withdrew former prime minister Ruud Lubbers' name from the race for the NATO secretary-general's job Friday after Washington refused to back him.

Britain, France, Germany and five other nations backed Lubbers, but unanimity is necessary among the 16 alliance members to decide who will succeed Belgian Willy Claes. Claes resigned last month to face bribery charges involving military contracts awarded when he was Belgian economics minister in the 1980s.

South Korea offended by Japanese remark

TOKYO (CNN) -- South Korea angrily rejected on Friday a visit there by Japan's foreign minister to defuse a row over a cabinet minister's remarks that there were "good things" in Japan's colonial rule of Korea. Koreans have bitter memories of that period, which lasted from 1910 to 1945.

South Korean Ambassador Kim Tae-zhee told Japanese officials that Foreign Minister Yohei Kono was not welcome in Seoul until "appropriate measures" were taken against the minister.

Earlier on Friday, Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama reprimanded Takami Eto, Management and Coordination Agency Minister.

In his offending remarks, Eto said, "During the colonial period, Japan also did good things. It erected schools and universities and substantially raised the level of education, laid 5,000 kilometers of railroads, conducted irrigation, improved port facilities and planted trees in the hills."


One French nun killed in Algeria, another wounded

PARIS (CNN) -- A French nun was shot to death and a second was seriously wounded in Algiers on Friday, Algerian security forces said.

They said two gunmen killed Odette Helene Prevaut, 63, and wounded Chantal Marie-Odette Galichi, 53, as they were leaving their home.

About 30 French nationals have been killed in Algeria by suspected Muslim fundamentalists since the cancellation of 1992 elections that the Islamic Salvation Front was poised to win. Algerian extremists accuse France of backing the current military government.


Guerrillas killed in Sri Lankan fighting

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (CNN) -- The Sri Lankan army said 78 Tamil Tiger guerrillas and 12 government soldiers were killed when the armed forces resumed their advance against the northern rebel stronghold of Jaffna on Friday.

The army said another 200 guerrillas were wounded, as the army met resistance on the outskirts of Jaffna.

The armed forces launched their operation on Oct. 17, pushing to within a few miles of Jaffna town center.

British murderer sentenced to hang in Singapore

SINGAPORE (CNN) - John Martin was sentenced on Friday to hang for the murder of a South African tourist. The 35-year-old British man is the first Westerner to receive Singapore's mandatory death sentence for murder.

Judge T.S. Sinnathuray said Martin had killed 32-year-old engineer Gerard George Lowe in cold blood in their shared hotel room on March 8.

Parts of Lowe's hacked-up body were found in the water off Singapore, wrapped in black plastic bags on March 13 and 16.

Martin admitted killing Lowe with hammer blows to the head, but said it was a reaction to an unwanted homosexual advance. Lowe's widow testified that her husband was not a homosexual.


John Major angered by nuclear test criticism

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (CNN) - At their biennial summit on Friday, Commonwealth leaders condemned French nuclear testing -- but Britain formally dissented from their statement.

Leaders of the group said the recent underground nuclear tests in the South Pacific had caused widespread anger, and urged their immediate cessation.

British Prime Minister John Major, who had earlier made a powerful defense of France's reasons for resuming testing in French Polynesia, called the statement "factually inaccurate, intellectually inconsistent and unbalanced."


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