News Briefs I
North Korea Fires Missile Toward JapanLos Angeles Times
North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan Monday in an unexpected and provocative test that came even as U.S. negotiations with the North Koreans were reportedly making headway.
U.S. military authorities informed the Japanese that the missile had been fired shortly after noon, and landed in the Sea of Japan, roughly 240 miles offshore from the Noto Peninsula, at 12:12 p.m. Monday, according to Tatsuhiko Fukui, a spokesman for the Japanese Defense Agency.
In a similar missile test in 1993, North Korea rattled the Japanese military establishment by firing a medium-range Rodong missile into the Sea of Japan. Japanese Self Defense Forces reportedly failed to detect that missile until they were informed by U.S. forces.
News of the missile test followed an upbeat report from Seoul on Sunday that North Korea, in negotiations with the United States in New York, had said it may allow an inspection of a huge underground construction site at which U.S. intelligence sources fear that an underground nuclear facility is being built.
Pending Elections, West Eases Pressure on Bosnian ReformThe Washington Post
With key national elections nearing in this ethnically divided country, some of the Western nations that oversee Bosnia's governance have put off trying to accelerate the pace of political reform for fear of inflaming nationalist sentiment and inadvertently promoting a victory by opponents of ethnic reintegration, senior U.S. officials said here Monday.
But this lull will end once results of the Sept. 12-13 presidential and parliamentary elections are in, the officials predicted. They pledged that Washington and its allies will devote new energy to Bosnia's numerous problems and resume pressure on politicians or communities that attempt to obstruct implementation of the 1995 Dayton agreement that ended the Bosnian war.
Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and Robert S. Gelbard, President Clinton's top envoy for Bosnia matters, outlined an aggressive post-election agenda in two days of private meetings with top Croat, Muslim and Serb officials, according to Albright's advisers.
Albright warned in particular that Washington plans a review of all existing U.S. aid programs, the officials said. Those who are not meeting key benchmarks set by the West - particularly a demand to accelerate the return of hundreds of thousands of refugees displaced by the war to their prewar homes - will be cut off, Albright said.
New Strain of AIDS Virus Discovered in Africa
The Washington Post
French researchers have discovered a new strain of the AIDS virus in Africa that is so different from other known strains that it easily escapes detection by standard blood screening tests.
The new variant does not currently threaten the safety of the blood supply or otherwise pose a significant public health threat since the virus, a form of HIV-1, is extremely rare. It was discovered in a 40-year-old Cameroonian woman who died of AIDS complications in 1995 and has since been implicated in only three other cases of AIDS, all in that west-central African country.
Nonetheless, experts said, the emergence of the new strain is a reminder that HIV remains a microbial moving target. Novel strains are evolving constantly within infected people, who serve as incubators for new mutants, and inside chimpanzees and other wild animals that harbor simian versions of the virus.