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December 16, 1995
Web posted at: 11:45 a.m. EST (1645 GMT)

Memorial park to honor Mao Tse-tung


BEIJING, China (CNN) -- As Mao Tse-tung's teachings become less and less relevant to modern China, his home town is opening a memorial park to honor the late leader.

The $4.8 million park will open December 26 -- the 102nd anniversary of his birth -- in the Hunan province town of Shaoshan. It will feature dioramas of historic places connected with Mao, and a memorial hall will contain 200 pictures of the "great helmsman" in historic settings.

After leading the communists to power in 1949, Mao became a god-like figure to many Chinese. But his economic and political campaigns resulted in tens of millions of deaths.

Soon after Mao's death in 1976, successor Deng Xiaoping proclaimed that Mao had been 70 percent right but 30 percent wrong. Deng implemented market reforms to replace Mao's rigid Stalinist economic system, and Mao's relevance quickly faded.

Spanish general who confronted rebels dies

GUADALAJARA, Spain (CNN) -- Former Defense Minister and Lt. Gen. Manuel Gutierrez Mellado, who confronted soldiers as they stormed Parliament in a failed 1981 coup, died Friday in a car accident . He was 83.

During the 1981 incident, Gutierrez Mellado leaped from his chair in Parliament and got into a shoving match with the civil guard leader of the attempted coup as soldiers fired guns into the air.

A camera captured this scene, and it became one of the most famous symbols of Spain's transition to democracy after the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.

South African gunmen kill 10


DURBAN, South Africa (CNN) -- Gunmen killed at least 10 people, including a six-month-old child strapped to its mother's back, in what appeared to be politically motivated violence in South Africa's Zulu heartland on Friday night.

The attacks on two families took place just hours after President Nelson Mandela said he and his Zulu rival, Inkatha leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi, would launch a new initiative to end political violence in KwaZulu-Natal.

In the south coast town of Paddock, gunmen burst into two homesteads Friday night and opened fire.

Both families were Inkatha supporters. Police believe the attacks were politically linked. At least 13,000 people were killed in political violence between supporters of Mandela's African National Congress and those of Inkatha in the province during the decade leading up to the April 1994 democracy elections, but since then political unrest has died down..

Israel, Syria to resume peace talks

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israel and Syria will resume their peace talks near Washington on December 27, U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher said Saturday .

He said the first round of talks will last three days, recess for a week and then resume the first week in January for another three days.

"Clearly, we are entering a new phase of negotiations," he said. "Conducting the negotiations in a site near Washington will intensify the discussions."

A peace treaty would be based on Israel relinquishing land in exchange for Syrian diplomatic recognition. Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres has already indicated he was willing to surrender all of the strategic Golan Heights, which Syria lost in the 1967 Mideast war, in exchange for diplomatic and security pledges.

Pound, franc to make way for Euro?


MADRID, Spain (CNN) -- After months of heated debate, members of the European Union Friday unenthusiastically approved the name for a single European currency, calling it "the Euro."

The agreement was reached during the first day of a two-day summit in Madrid.

The currency is supposed to be introduced in 1999, and phased in over three years.

The agreement on the overall plan for the European Monetary Union means countries will be gauged economically early in 1998 to determine their ability to join. The currency will be introduced among banks on January 1, 1999, and will be circulated for public use in 2002.

The leaders still have to decide how countries within the single currency will carry on commerce with those who do not qualify or otherwise decide not to join.

India dismisses reports of nuclear test as speculative

India map

NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- India dismissed a U.S. newspaper's report that it might be preparing for its first nuclear test in two decades as pure speculation, contending that there was only routine military activity near the suspected test site.

The U.S. State Department said if the reports are true, it would be a setback to international disarmament efforts.

The New York Times reported that U.S. spy satellites had noted the preparations at a nuclear test site in India's Rajasthan desert.

An Indian foreign ministry spokesperson said India, which has nuclear power plants, supports the eventual elimination of all nuclear weapons. But he said New Delhi had not made up its mind on a proposed global nuclear test ban treaty.

India refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty earlier this year, saying it was discriminatory because it allowed some states to maintain nuclear weapons programs.

India recently criticized the United States for agreeing to an arms package for Pakistan, saying the one-time waiver of a law barring American weapons sales to the country would stoke regional tensions.

Defense experts said a test by India could badly strain its tenuous ties with Pakistan, which India accuses of fueling a five-year-old separatist revolt in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Government wins 2 confidence tests, awaits third

Italy map

ROME, Italy (CNN) -- Italian Prime Minister Lamberto Dini survived two nail-biting votes of confidence Friday to push through his administration's 1996 budget. But his troubles are not over yet: Another confidence motion on the finance bill is due next week.

The Chamber of Deputies (the lower house) passed the second confidence motion 310-297, with one abstention. The first motion passed 306-292, with one abstention.

Friday's twin confidence motions were over some 2000 amendments to the government's finance bill.

The budget, which aims to chop $20.3 billion off the 1996 deficit, must by law be passed by December 31. Failure to do so would mean costly provisional spending.

If the government wins the third confidence vote, the budget then returns to the Senate (upper house) for final approval, after which Dini has promised to hand in his notice of resignation.

Dini was installed by President Oscar Scalfaro when Silvio Berlusconi's short-lived coalition crumbled.

Berlusconi now leads the center-right opposition and is pushing for elections in February, three years ahead of schedule.

Police reportedly foil bomb attack against Mubarak

Egypt map

CAIRO, Egypt (CNN) -- Muslim militants intended to blow up the Egyptian parliament when President Hosni Mubarak was speaking there, but police foiled the plans by rounding up members of the gang, the Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram reported Saturday.

The paper said members of the terrorist group arrested this week revealed that they planned a car bomb attack against the parliament building Saturday just before the start of the opening session.

The new parliament was elected in two rounds of voting on November 29 and December 6.

Earlier this week, police had arrested 54 militants in a nationwide sweep against the Jihad extremist group. Two suspected militants were killed in the sweep.


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