January 13, 1996
Web posted at: 1:15 a.m. EST (0615 GMT)
AJACCIO, Corsica (CNN) -- France refused Corsican guerrilla demands for independence Friday, unswayed by the groups' declaration of a truce in their bombing campaign earlier in the day.
Separatists on the French Island of Corsica called the three-month truce after 44 reports of bombings on the island since the beginning of the year. The targets, mainly central government and tax offices, were attacked as part of a drive by separatists for greater independence and for new tax exemptions.
The bombing halt was announced just hours before French Interior Minister Jean-Louis DeBre arrived on the island Friday.
Though DeBre quickly rebuffed the demand, he hinted that some kind of talks might be possible.
LISBON, Portugal (CNN) -- Only two days before Portugal holds presidential elections, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres accepted the resignation of Public Works Minister Murteira Nabo over allegations of tax evasion. Observers speculated that the resignation could hurt Guterres in the race.
Guterres said that he had no choice but to accept Nabo's resignation after a newspaper printed the allegation about his tax evasion. "The resignation request was made with dignity and reflected a sense of personal responsibility," Guterres said.
Nabo said the allegations were "based in fact" and he asked that Guterres replace him to protect the government's reputation. He had held office for 15 days when the report surfaced in the Lisbon O Independente saying he had evaded taxes by understating the value of a house he bought in 1992.
Tax evasion issue is a sore point for the Socialist Party because it won the last election based on an anti-corruption platform. The people had grown wary of government after repeated allegations of corruptions in the previous administration of the conservative Social Democrats.
Guterres is favored to win a new term as prime minister in Sunday's election.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Rocket fire killed two people Friday in the Afghan capital of Kabul as U.N. special envoy Mahmoud Mestiri arrived in Pakistan to resume his peace mission.
The Taleban Islamic militia fired at least six rockets into residential sections of Kabul, killing two people, wounding three others, and damaging houses.
It was the second day of attacks by the rebels, who seek to oust President Burhanuddin Rabbani. Thursday, 14 rockets fired on the capital killed five people and wounded 20.
Mestiri arrived in Islamabad to continue talks on an elusive peace between Afghan factions.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati left Islamabad Wednesday after two days of negotiations, coming away with a verbal peace agreement from both sides.
TORONTO, Canada (CNN) -- Separatist leader Lucien Bouchard became Quebec's premier-designate when no one else filed to oppose him by Friday's deadline.
Bouchard, who intends to seek another referendum on independence for the French-speaking province, will be proclaimed party leader at a meeting on January 27. He is expected to be sworn in as premier a few days later.
He replaces Jacques Parizeau, who announced his intention to resign a day after Quebec separatists lost an October 30 referendum on independence by 49.4 percent to 50.6 percent.
Bouchard was credited for bringing the separatist vote so close to victory.
BONN, Germany (CNN) -- Strained by past events, German and Czech leaders failed to reach political reconciliation Friday.
After more than five hours of talks in Bonn, Czech Foreign Minister Josef Zieleniec and counterpart Klaus Kinkel said that they had not been able to find any common ground.
The Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia and Prague's expulsion of ethnic Germans after World War II are at the heart of their differences.
Zieleniec said that talks were constructive and significant progress had been made, but "the burdens of the past still exist" and prevented any major breakthroughs.
The leaders have attempted to carve out a basic agreement that could remedy lingering hostilities, but conservatives from both countries have voiced strong differences of opinion.
The ministers have agreed to more talks, but have not set the date.
TOKYO (CNN) -- A Japanese court has refused a request to move the trial of three U.S. servicemen, charged with raping a Japanese schoolgirl, off the island of Okinawa.
The court refused the plea for a change of venue for Marine Pfc. Kendrick Ledet of Waycross, Georgia. Ledet's mother, Barbara Cannon, had argued that public outrage over the attack would prejudice the judges.
Charged along with Ledet are Marine Pfc. Rodrico Harp of Griffin, Georgia, and Navy Seaman Marcus Gill of Woodville, Texas. The three are being tried together.
LONDON (CNN) - A man from China won a one third share in Britain's record 42 million-pound ($65 million) lottery jackpot last weekend, tabloid newspapers said on Friday.
The man flew to London to pick up his 14 million-pound ($22 million) check, stayed one night in an expensive hotel and then returned to China, they said. The newspapers said the name he gave publicly was probably not his real name.
Lottery operators confirmed that the last of three jackpot winners had come forward to collect his prize in the past two days, but would give no details of his identity.
BEIJING, China (CNN) -- Officials at a Shanghai orphanage accused of deliberately starving children to death say a photograph of an emaciated orphan circulated by a human rights group was faked.
The photograph, released by Human Rights Watch-Asia along with a report on the orphanage, showed an 11-year-old boy lying on a mat, his thin arms and legs tied to a bed frame.
The New York-based group said the boy died of starvation 10 days after the photo was taken. Orphanage officials have claimed the boy had a medical problem that prevented his body from absorbing nutrients.
JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNN) -- The Indonesian army said on Friday it saw no quick end to a kidnapping drama in remote Irian Jaya.
Separatist guerrillas operating in one of the region's most inaccessible corners on Monday kidnapped seven Europeans and 17 Indonesians who were conducting biological research.
The 24 people -- including four British students, two Dutch nationals and one German -- were taken by the Free Papua Movement (OPM), whose overseas representatives earlier claimed responsibility on behalf of the movement. Irian is heavily forested and borders Papua New Guinea.
The OPM is a small lightly-armed movement fighting for the independence of Irian, the former Dutch colony of West Papua which was incorporated into Indonesia in 1963.
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