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Shorts I

Clinton to Back U.N. Sanctions Against Angolan Rebels

The Washington Post

In a long-shot effort to salvage the shaky peace in Angola, the Clinton administration will support new United Nations sanctions on longtime rebel leader Jonas Savimbi and his UNITA movement and is prepared to sell military transport planes to the Angolan government, according to senior officials.

The sanctions, which U.S. officials expect to be imposed by the U.N. Security Council this week, and the aircraft sale reflect the administration's exasperation with Savimbi, a former Cold War ally whom Washington holds largely responsible for the growing tension in Angola.

Washington's view was hardened earlier this month after U.N. Secretary General Kofi A. Annan SM '72 issued a blistering report accusing Savimbi and UNITA of "totally unacceptable" practices - including failure to demobilize troops - that threaten to restart Africa's longest civil war.

During the Cold War Savimbi was Washington's proxy in a struggle against the government of Jose Eduardo dos Santos, which was backed by the Soviet Union and Cuba. But Savimbi has long since outlived his usefulness to Washington, and U.S. anger at his tactics has been apparent since October, when he refused to travel to Luanda, the Angolan capital, to meet then-Secretary of State Warren Christopher.

Latin Summit Spotlights Rivalries

The Washington Post

Brazil wants a seat on the U.N. Security Council. Argentina wants special defensive ally status from the United States. Chile is shopping for F-16 fighter jets. Peru already has bought Russian MiGs. And throughout the region, each country is growing suspicious of others' motives.

For a continent at peace, witnessing an unprecedented level of economic cooperation, South America has become increasingly focused on thorny issues of defense and security. The measures have reignited some long-standing regional rivalries and created mounting political friction that is the hottest issue at a summit of Latin American heads of government this weekend in Asuncion, Paraguay.

Experts say recent developments indicate a new phase in the South American renaissance of the 1990s. Already, economic reforms and the creation of the Mercosur alliance - a sort of European Union of countries in South America's Southern Cone - have dramatically increased the continent's economic clout.

A string of state visits by French President Jacques Chirac, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and others have underscored the quest to woo the continent's up-and-coming free-market economies. Now, South American nations, especially the two largest - Brazil and Argentina - are trying to convert their newfound clout into a larger voice in world politics.

"Our economy has become normalized, and we've grown in (economic) strength," Sebastiao Barros, Brazil's deputy foreign minister, said in a telephone interview from Brasilia. "It's only just that we should have more recognition and be allowed to contribute more to the international community."

But in seeking more global prominence, they are stepping on each other's toes - and the United States has found itself right in the middle.

Chilean officials, for instance, have voiced strong opposition to the designation of Argentina as a "non-NATO ally" of the United States. The designation - reserved for America's closest allies outside the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, such as Israel, Japan and South Korea - is expected to be bestowed when President Clinton visits Buenos Aires in October.

Plane Crashes at Beach Resort

The Washington Post

While a crowd on a Maryland beach watched in horror, a small sightseeing plane with three people aboard plummeted into the water Sunday afternoon about a mile from the Ocean City shore.

The 44-year-old pilot and his two 25-year-old passengers were missing and presumed dead.

Witnesses said the plane nosedived into the ocean suddenly.

"The plane spiraled and corkskrewed down. The sea just swallowed it up," said Johnny Johnson, 35, of Severna Park, Md., ho was at the beach with his wife when the plane crashed about 2:20 p.m.

There was no apparent warning that the plane was in trouble, and no fire or smoke was visible from the shore.

Richard Keep, 21, a student from England in Ocean City, Md., for the summer, watched the red biplane "hanging around," maneuvering in the air offshore for about 10 minutes.

"Suddenly, it rose up in the air, the engine cut off, and everything went silent. It went into a direct spin and went straight into the water," he said "I was numb. It was surreal."