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News Briefs 1

Kurdish Rivals Will Meet in Turkey To End Fighting, U.S. Says

Los Angeles Times

Leaders of warring Kurdish factions will meet face to face in Turkey next week to try to end a bloody dispute that has given Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein a renewed foothold in northern Iraq, the Clinton administration said Thursday.

The meeting in Ankara, to be mediated by Assistant Secretary of State Robert Pelletreau, the top State Department Middle East expert, will be the first between officials of the Democratic Party of Kurdistan, or KDP, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, or PUK, since fighting broke out in late August. British and Turkish diplomats also will participate.

A U.S.-brokered cease-fire that took effect in the region early Thursday seemed to be generally effective, despite a five-hour artillery barrage near the town of Degala, news agencies reported from northern Iraq.

"We have hopes that these talks might lead the KDP and PUK to maintain the cease-fire, to decide together on some form of reconciliation so that the situation in northern Iraq can be more stable and more peaceful," said State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns.

Clinton Will Hold Up Arms Transfer To Bosnian Federation

The Washington Post

The Clinton administration Thursday said it would hold up a long-planned transfer of $100 million of arms to Bosnia's Muslim-Croat federation until the Bosnian government removes a senior defense official who is reported to have close ties with Iran.

The American demand for the resignation of Bosnian Deputy Defense Minister Hasan Cengic came as a chartered ship with 45 M-60 battle tanks, 80 M-11 armored personnel carriers, and 15 UH-1h helicopters arrived at the Croatian port of Ploce. U.S. officials said the weapons would remain under U.S. control until the Bosnians agreed to several demands, the most important of which is the dismissal of Cengic.

The arms shipment forms a key part of the "equip-and-train" program announced last year by the United States that is designed to create a rough military balance between the forces of the Muslim-Croat federation and the Serbian entity, known as the Serb Republic. The program has been hamstrung by repeated delays, many of them caused by bickering between the Muslims and the Croats over the creation of an integrated federation army.

With Research, Pope Says Evolution Is More Than Just a Theory'

The Washington Post

Pope John Paul II issued a statement this week saying research shows that evolution is "more than just a theory," a significant step beyond the Catholic Church's pronouncement nearly 50 years ago that evolution was worthy of discussion but still an open question.

The Pope nevertheless said the human soul is divinely created anew in each person, and not subject to the evolutionary process. Any other teaching, he said, is "incompatible with the truth about man."

His statement is not likely to shake many in his church, which has long assumed the credibility of evolution and taught it in Catholic schools. But it may rattle some non-Catholic Biblical fundamentalists who believe in creationism and have respected this pope for his traditionalist reputation and his emphatic teaching against abortion.

The Pope's message was made public on Wednesday at the annual meeting of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, a group of eminent scholars - many Nobel Prize winners and non-Catholics - who meet annually at the Vatican to advise the church on scientific affairs. Their topic for this meeting was the origin of life and evolution.

Throughout his papacy, John Paul has sought to reconcile science and faith. Four years ago, he declared that the church had erred in condemning Galileo Galilei as a heretic in 1633 for contending that the Earth was not the center of the universe, contrary to church teaching at the time.