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News Briefs II

Sarajevo Barrier Bulldozed As Abuse of Muslims Reported

Los Angeles Times
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina

Amid reports of harassment of elderly non-Serbs in a Serb-held district of Sarajevo, NATO-led peacekeepers moved Tuesday to eliminate the last and most symbolic checkpoint dividing the city.

In an unannounced but long-anticipated operation, French troops dismantled the ugly blue and concrete barriers that had set apart the Serb-held district of Grbavica, where U.N. officials and residents have reported an "alarming" wave of intimidation and beatings of non-Serbs in recent days.

Grbavica is one of several Serb suburbs that, under the U.S.-brokered Bosnia peace accord, will be transferred to Muslim-Croat government authority in a process to begin Saturday, when all Serb forces have to withdraw. Fear of the transfer has sent thousands of Serbs fleeing for refuge elsewhere in Bosnian Serb territory.

The barricade blocking access to Grbavica had come to symbolize the insurmountable ethnic division created by the war; it was the closest thing to a Berlin Wall that Sarajevo had, located in the middle of the capital across the ill-named Brotherhood and Unity Bridge.

Its continued presence, long after checkpoints elsewhere in the country had fallen, violated the ideal of free movement set forth in the peace accord and seemed to encourage both the Bosnian Serbs and the Muslim-led government to persist in restricting such movement of civilians.

Magic's Return to Lakers Keeps Hall of Fame in Guessing Game

Los Angeles Times

Magic Johnson will be elected to the basketball Hall of Fame.



His enshrinement remains a first-ballot certainty. But now the date of the induction, having already been altered once, is up in the air now that Johnson has come out of retirement, again.

His last regular season was 1990-91, so he should have been part of the class of '97 in Springfield, Mass., since players must skip five elections before they go on the ballot. Then he played in the 1991-92 All-Star game and in the 1992 Olympics. He came back before the 1992-93 season but retired again before the regular season began.

Last year, the trustees met and decided on ... 1998?

The Hall went with sentiment over the bylaws, wanting Johnson and Larry Bird to be enshrined together. Since Bird retired after 1991-92, making him eligible for '98, Johnson was given credit for the All-Star game and Dream Team appearance in Barcelona and kept in the same class.

"There have been so many ties with Larry and Magic, through college and the pros," Joe O'Brien, president of the Hall of Fame, said Tuesday.

"They played each other in the NCAA final, were rookies the same year and then had so many memorable moments in the NBA. The links are so dramatic that we thought it would have been ideal to have them enter the Hall at the same time."

But now the comeback, officially, would make Johnson part of the class of 2002, barring a return next season.