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News Briefs

January 3, 1996
Web posted at: 12:45 a.m. EST (0545 GMT)

Mubarak replaces prime minister to quiet complaints

Hosni Mubarak

CAIRO, Egypt (CNN) -- In a surprising move Tuesday, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak appointed a new prime minister. Some observers said Mubarak made the change to quell rumblings by opponents of his ruling National Democratic Party about the November 26 parliament elections being allegedly rigged. The move appeared to work.

Mubarak installed economist Kamal el-Ganzoury as prime minister, replacing Afef Sedki, who had served in the position for nine years, longer than any prime minister in Egypt's history.

The quick change appeared to curtail complaints that the ruling party won seats in the November 26 elections through widespread vote-rigging and violence.

Mubarak was also expected to replace at least five of the 32 cabinet minister seats. Each cabinet member has served at least five years. The interior, defense, information and foreign affairs seats, the most powerful minister positions, are expected to remain unchanged.

Mauritanian prime minister fired by president

NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania (CNN) -- Mauritanian President Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya unexpectedly fired Prime Minister Sidi Mohamed Ould Boubacar Tuesday, officials said in a written statement. No reason was given for the prime minister's ouster.

Boubacar has been Mauritania's prime minister for four years.

He is succeeded by the Minister of Fisheries and Maritime Economy, Cheikh El Afia Ould Mohamed Khouna.

Boutros-Ghali calls for extra forces in Burundi

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has asked the Security Council to send a contingent of U.N. guards to protect aid workers in Burundi. The secretary-general said that without intervention, ethnic violence in the central African nation could explode on a massive scale.

Burundi map

In a letter to the Security Council released Tuesday, Boutros Ghali also requested a military presence in neighboring Zaire.

Burundian President Sylvestre Ntibantunganya said it would take an ever-vigilant watch in order to keep the country from collapsing.

However, the United Nations refugee agency said that the recent surge in ethnic fighting in northern Burundi appears to have eased.

Sporadic violence between Hutu and Tutsi tribes has plagued Burundi since army officers killed the country's first Hutu president in 1993.

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Iraqi resistance group says it has killed general

NICOSIA, Cyprus (CNN) -- Iraqi opposition forces claimed Tuesday that they killed an Iraqi general in northern Iraq. They also said the Iraqi government retaliated by attacking villages by helicopter.

The Iraqi National Congress said that they ambushed and killed Brigadier General Mohamed Hamoudi Aboud al-Taie Sunday while he was riding in a convoy at Showan, near Kirkuk. The general's driver was also killed and members of the convoy were taken prisoner by the opposition umbrella group.

According to the congress, Iraqi government helicopters attacked Sartiq, Rahamaniya, and Si Kurdkan in retaliation for the killing.

The general's murder had not been officially confirmed.

The congress is based in the northern Iraq, which is protected from Iraqi government attack by a Western-imposed no-fly zone rule. The rule was established after government forces attacked Kurds there following the end of the 1991 Gulf War.

Record number of 'small wars' being fought worldwide

(CNN) -- While the longest European war since World War II is drawing to a close in Bosnia, 71 so-called "small wars" are still simmering around the globe.

Since 1989, the National Defense Foundation has tracked countries where turmoil disrupted economics, politics or security. Twelve nations were added to the list in 1995, including Bangladesh, Ghana, and Saudi Arabia.

France was added because of incidents of terrorism by Algerian expatriates.

Eight countries were dropped from the list. The Bahamas, Belize, and Costa Rica were removed because of reduced drug activity, and the Irish Republican Army truce allowed the United Kingdom and Ireland to be taken off of the list.

Renewed fighting disrupts truce in Liberia

Liberia map

MONROVIA, Liberia (CNN) -- After a day-long truce between guerrillas and African peacekeepers, fighting was sparked again in western Liberia Tuesday.

While peacekeepers attempted to keep the fragile accord that ends six years of civil war, aid workers were forced to turn back from their attempt to enter Tubmanburg. Peacekeepers used tanks and artillery to subdue rebels in the town.

Guerrilla faction leader General Roosevelt Johnson accused the multinational force led by Nigeria of committing atrocities against his soldiers and civilians.

Peacekeeping officials have not commented on the recent outbreak of fighting.

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Factory fire in China kills 19


SHENZHEN, China (CNN) -- Nineteen people were killed in a fire that broke out on New Year's Day at a factory dormitory in Shenzhen, China, newspapers there and in Hong Kong reported Tuesday. (519K QuickTime movie)

The factory, which makes Christmas decorations, is owned by a Taiwanese investor, the Chinese language Sing Tao Daily said.

Another 37 people were report injured in the fire, which broke out at 3 a.m. local time (1900 GMT Sunday). The six men and 13 women killed were believed to be factory workers asleep in a dormitory at the time of the blaze, the reports said. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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Officials toughen stand on Marseille transit strike


MARSEILLE, France (CNN) -- Subway trains, operating under police guard, resumed service in Marseille on Tuesday -- the 27th day of a work stoppage to protest pay and benefits for new employees. A few private buses chartered by the Mediterranean city ran a skeleton service in place of striking public bus drivers.

The Marseilles strike is the last major stoppage remaining after crippling nationwide public sector strikes against government austerity plans wound down a week before Christmas.

Thirty-two Marseilles strikers appeared in court Tuesday, accused by the city's transport authority of hampering colleagues who wanted to work. Public transport workers oppose plans to pay new employees less and require them to work longer hours than their more experienced colleagues. Transportation officials say the move is necessary because the city cannot continue to pay the high cost of existing social benefits.

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Officials link plots against pope, Filipino leaders


MANILA, Philippines (CNN) -- President Fidel Ramos and the commanders of the Philippines army and national police were targets of a terrorist group that also plotted to kill Pope John Paul II and bomb American jetliners last year, Philippine authorities alleged Tuesday.

They displayed six of 15 foreigners arrested in Manila last month, including Muhammad Anees, described as a "close associate" of suspected terrorists Ramzi Yussef and Abdul Hakim Murad, both now in custody in New York. Yussef was indicted for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing while Murad is awaiting trial in connection with a plot to bomb U.S. airline flights from Asia. Authorities say Yussef also plotted to kill the pope during the pontiff's visit to Manila last January.

Police and military officials said they seized several grenades, dynamite, a disassembled rocket warhead, bomb-making components and travel documents when they arrested Anees and five of the others. All six carried Pakistani passports but their nationalities are being checked, officials said. The nine others arrested -- including Yussef's brother, Adel Annon -- were holding Iraqi, Saudi and Sudanese passports, police said.

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