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News Briefs 1

Serb General Snubs NATO, Missing Key Meeting

The Washington Post
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina

Bosnian Serb military authorities snubbed a key NATO meeting Monday in spite of pledges made on their behalf Sunday to adhere to all aspects of the Dayton peace accord.

The public absence of Maj. Gen. Zdravko Tolimir, the Bosnian Serb deputy commander, was seen as an affront to the Bosnian peace process and a reneging on assurances given in Rome only 24 hours earlier by the president of Serbia, Slobodan Milosevic. Although another meeting was swiftly scheduled, Tolimir's no-show demonstrated again the difficulty in moving from diplomatic accords, in which Milosevic negotiates for the Bosnian Serbs, to progress on the ground in Bosnia, where the Bosnian Serb military has authority of its own.

In a statement, NATO peacekeepers "strongly urged" the Bosnian Serbs "to comply immediately" with the agreement negotiated in November in Dayton, Ohio, as Milosevic said they would. The Bosnian Serb republic's "refusal to participate is a direct contravention of the Dayton peace accord and of the agreements announced in Rome this weekend," the statement declared.

Tolimir was to attend critical talks among the former warring parties in the Balkans and the highest NATO authorities, designed to end a two-week Bosnian Serb boycott of such meetings. The talks took place aboard the USS George Washington in the Adriatic Sea, in part to dramatize that the accord was being respected anew. For that reason, it was particularly embarrassing that Tolimir stayed away.

Natural Source of Deadly, Uncontrolled Ebola Virus Continues To Elude Scientists


An outbreak of the deadly ebola virus in the equatorial African nation of Gabon appears to be under control, experts say. But it continues, nonetheless, to raise intriguing questions about the natural source of the mysterious disease.

Since Feb. 5, there have been 20 confirmed ebola cases in the country, according to the World Health Organization. Seven more suspected cases are under observation in Mayibout II, the remote village where the outbreak began.

Thirteen people died from the disease, including a 6-month-old baby of one of the dead adults - the first of what Dr. David Heymann, of the WHO, termed "the second-wave cases," meaning individuals who are contracting the disease as the result of contact with other people suffering from ebola.

Meanwhile, the Gabonese Ministry of Health reported Monday from the country's capital, Libreville, that at least one chimpanzee, two gorillas, a wild cat and an antelope have been found dead in the jungle area surrounding the remote village of Mayibout II, raising speculation that a viral epidemic is sweeping through the area's large-animal population.

Socialist Manchuria, Thousands Of Workers, Locked in Serious Economic Deep Freeze

Los Angeles Times

Manchuria used to boast that it was the first Chinese territory to embrace the socialist state-planned economy, employing thousands of workers in cradle-to-grave factory complexes that took care of all their needs, from the apartments where they lived to the shoes on their feet.

The problem facing the frigid industrial region bordering Russian Siberia and North Korea these days is that it is also among the last places in China to break with the state model.

"In the south of China," said Harbin sociologist Li Debin, "even teenagers know how to make money and cut deals. Southern people think it is good to make money.

But people here in the north do not think it is glorious to get rich, to do business. They still think highly of (Communist Party) cadres and managers of state-owned enterprises."

As a result, while much of the country prospers, Manchuria - China's own Rust Belt and home to 104 million Chinese - remains an economic dinosaur.

And in recent years, the region has begun to suffer from a new and troubling problem: high rates of unemployment.