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News Briefs, part 1

PLO, Hamas Ready to Put Aside Rivalry to Govern Gaza

By Michael Parks
Los Angeles Times
GAZA CITY, Israeli-Occupied Gaza Strip

Putting aside a rivalry that once led to daily gun battles in the dusty streets here, the militant Islamic group Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organization are coming to an understanding on how the region will be run as it emerges from Israeli control this week.

Built on compromises rejected out of hand only a few months ago, the deal pulls the two strongest forces in the Gaza Strip into a political partnership; it, in turn, could shape the new Palestinian Authority that will govern here and determine the success or failure of Palestinian self-rule.

Even before Israel and the PLO concluded their agreement on Palestinian self-government in the Gaza Strip and the Jericho District on the West Bank, many here had feared that the often bitter rivalry between Hamas and Fatah would flare into open warfare if Israel ever withdrew its forces.

"The dialogue between Fatah and ourselves was to resolve differences in the past and to prevent differences in the future," acknowledged Ibrahim Yazouri, another senior Hamas leader. "We want to avert the danger of in-fighting among our people."

But for Abu Khousah, Hamas has simply recognized political realities: The PLO's agreement with Israel on self-government will be implemented shortly and those who do not participate in running the Palestinian territories will be left behind. "From the moment they realized that a solution was coming, they began to search for their place in it," he said.

NATO Blocks Serbs' Effort To Take Guns

By John Pomfret
The Washington Post
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina

A NATO jet buzzed a Bosnian Serb platoon trying to retrieve heavy weapons from a U.N. weapons depot outside Sarajevo early Monday, scaring the Serbs away, U.N. officials said.

The sole fighter-bomber ended the four-hour standoff during which Serb troops were attempting to take back their weapons, handed over to U.N. troops in February under a NATO ultimatum, said French navy Cmdr. Eric Chaperon, spokesman for the U.N. command here.

Serb forces in Bosnia have been subjected to a series of such "tests" since NATO issued two ultimatums to the Serbs, one on Feb. 9 forcing them to end their 22-month-long bombardment of Sarajevo, and the other on April 22, ordering them to stop their assault on the Muslim enclave of Gorazde in eastern Bosnia.

Chaperon said Monday that about 100 Serb militiamen are currently occupying the hamlet, Zupcici, adding that U.N. forces consider that deployment intolerably high. The Serbs call the militiamen "policemen." Members of the Serb militia or police were not mentioned in the NATO ultimatum. However, Chaperon acknowledged that the militiamen were not engaged in crime fighting but rather were staking a claim to that territory.

U.S. Conducted Radiation Tests On Stillborn Babies in '50s

By Gary Lee
The Washington Post

U.S. government researchers conducted radiation tests on stillborn babies in Chicago during the 1950s, the Department of Energy reported Monday, in the latest revelation about the widescale use of humans in Cold War experiments.

In the Chicago tests, scientists cremated 44 newly deceased infants and measured the amount of strontium 90, a radioactive substance, in the remains. Parents were probably not notified or asked permission for the use of their children in the experiments, according to DOE officials familiar with the case.

The tests were part of Project Sunshine, a massive study conducted by the Atomic Energy Commission, a forerunner of DOE, to determine the longterm effects of nuclear radiation fallout on humans. Strontium 90 is among the radioactive particles that typically linger in the body following nuclear weapons tests.

The release of long-classified information about the Chicago Baby Project - following recent reports about the use of mentally retarded teen-agers, ethnic minorities and other disadvantaged groups in radiation tests - raises new questions about what ethical standards the federal government used in its conduct of Cold war research.