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News Briefs, part 1

United States to Begin Testing New Missile Defense System

The Washington Post

The Clinton administration notified Russia Tuesday it will begin testing a tactical missile defense system next month even though negotiations with Moscow on how to reconcile the system with the 1972 Antiballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty have not been completed.

Similar notification was sent to Congress, where key members of both parties have reservations about the short-range missile defense program, for opposite reasons. Democrats fear deployment would violate the ABM Treaty, a cornerstone of Cold War arms control. Republicans fear negotiations with Russia aimed at clarifying the treaty to permit the missile defense system will result in restrictions that would bar development of still more advanced systems.

Senior House Republicans asked President Clinton as soon as they were sworn in Jan. 4 to suspend the negotations with Russia until they can review the entire missile defense issue-including a possible revival of the so-called Star Wars program, as called for in the GOP's "Contract With America."

But the Clinton administration plans to resume the negotiations in March, hopeful of striking a deal with Russia that would permit deployment of the antimissile system to be tested starting next month and of advanced systems planned by the Navy and the Air Force.

Germany Faces Threat Of Fundamentalist Violence

Los Angeles Times
BONN, Germany

Germany, the Islamic world's best friend and business partner in Europe, suddenly is confronting the possibility that fundamentalist violence could strike at home.

The recent hijacking of an Air France jetliner and a threat last week from Islamic militants against Western countries with embassies in Algeria have raised concerns about the possibility of fundamentalist attacks on German targets.

A new report by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution warns that 14 Islamic fundamentalist groups are organized in Germany and have a growing following among the country's 2.5 million Muslim residents. The extremists' advocacy of violence "endangers internal security," the report says.

The threat exists despite reports that supporters of the Islamic Salvation Front, one of the principal groups fighting to oust Algeria's military government, are using Germany as base to smuggle weapons to fundamentalist combatants at home.

U.N. Relief Aide Thrives in Turmoil Of Moslem Enclave

The Washington Post

At first glance it might seem that, even with more than 18 rough-and-tumble months in Bosnia behind her, nothing quite prepared Monique Tuffelli for the events of the first week of 1995.

She was threatened by angry rebel militiamen who four times in one day aimed assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers at her.

She got the runaround from obstructionist local officials who accused her of blackmail and of being abusive.

But in a way, everything in her life had readied her for her job as head of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in Bosnia's divided Bihac pocket.

In fact, she has survived much worse than the new year's indignities. For weeks during the intense fighting in Bihac, she was the only foreign U.N. staffer in the Moslem enclave in northwestern Bosnia, refusing to leave when the others were evacuated.

By her own admission she was nearly powerless in practical terms, since the fighting prevented U.N. relief convoys from bringing urgently needed supplies through a Serb siege to the Muslim enclave. But for days, her often scratchy radioed reports were the only impartial accounts of Bihac's agony that reached the outside world.

Admitting to "very contradictory feelings," she worried that as the international community loses interest in the Bosnia war, UNHCR workers like herself "are an alibi for an uncaring world."