1. Archive

Kohl pledges action on rightist violence

Chancellor Helmut Kohl launched a campaign Wednesday for major changes in German law to help authorities crack down on neo-Nazi violence that has killed 26 people in the past 18 months.

Kohl, pressed to take action amid criticism that he has been too lenient with the radical right, made the proposals in his first parliamentary speech on rightist violence since five Turks were killed in a May 29 firebombing in Solingen.

Kohl's proposed changes include:

A law allowing preventive detention of radicals before they have a chance to attack foreigners.

An expansion of existing bans on symbols used by neo-Nazi organizations.

Greater powers for the Federal Prosecutor's Office.

Changes in privacy laws that make it difficult for federal investigators to obtain information about suspected criminals.

Kohl repeated his opposition to allowing Turks and other long-term foreign residents to hold two passports but said Germany's 80-year-old citizenship law should be revised to make it easier for foreigners whose families have lived here for two or three generations to become German citizens.

S. Africans strike

on key anniversary

SOWETO, South Africa _ More than 1-million blacks boycotted work Wednesday, shutting down major cities on the anniversary of the 1976 student uprising against apartheid.

Many businesses either closed or tried to make do with a skeleton staff of white workers, particularly in the larger cities of Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.

The 1976 uprising began when Soweto students protested a government order that they be taught in Afrikaans, the Dutch-derived language of the white Afrikaners who dominate the government. The protests quickly spread throughout the country, and hundreds of black youths were killed over several months.

There were no reports of major clashes between police and demonstrators Wednesday, as happened on previous anniversaries of the uprising.

Nigeria election

winner in limbo

ABUJA, Nigeria _ Nigeria's electoral commission Wednesday refused to declare a winner in the presidential elections pending a court case alleging the balloting was rigged.

The decision was a blow to this troubled nation's attempt to end a decade of military rule, and provided ammunition to critics who say military ruler Gen. Ibrahim Babangida is not ready to give up power.

Partial results from Saturday's elections showed Moshood K. O. Abiola, 55, a publishing and transportation tycoon leading millionaire banker Bashir Othman Tofa by a wide margin.

Even though the votes have been tabulated, electoral commission chairman Humphrey Nwosu said the commission was stopping the process to comply with a court injunction issued at the request of Babangida's supporters.

Babangida, who seized power in 1985, promised to hand over power to a civilian government on Aug. 27. But the military leader, who outlawed all opposition parties other than those of his two friends, is already three years behind on his pledge to hold elections.

Longtime Malawi

ruler is rebuked

BLANTYRE, Malawi _ Opposition groups in this African nation demanded Wednesday that the country convert to multiparty rule in light of referendum results showing a rejection of President Kamuzu Banda's iron-fisted rule.

Brown Chimphamba, chairman of the commission that ran Monday's non-binding referendum, announced on state radio that 63 percent of voters prefer a Western-style political system to Banda's one-party rule.

Thousands of people poured out of shops, offices and factories after the announcement. "This is the best day in my life," said a weeping Norbert Chayenda, a former Banda supporter who has joined the opposition Alliance for Democracy. "It is time for Kamuzu to go."

It was unclear how Banda, believed to be in his 90s, would react to losing the referendum. He came to power in 1964 when Malawi, a former British colony, became independent.

Cambodia factions

to share power

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia _ Cambodia's head of state, Prince Norodom Sihanouk, named two co-chairmen Wednesday from the country's main political parties to share power in an interim government. The arrangement increases the chances of a peaceful transition to democratic rule after decades of civil war.

Sihanouk appointed as co-leaders his son, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, leader of the opposition royalist party known as FUNCINPEC, which won last month's national elections, and Hun Sen, prime minister in the outgoing Phnom Penh regime whose Cambodian People's Party placed second in the voting.

The interim government will serve for about three months while the newly elected constituent assembly drafts a new constitution and then forms a new government.

House approves

aid plan for Russia

WASHINGTON _ The House endorsed President Clinton's plea for aid to the former Soviet Union on Wednesday.

Voting 317-118, lawmakers rejected an attempt to cut $704-million earmarked for Russia in a $904-million package for the country and other republics of the former Soviet Union.

The Russian assistance is part of a fiscal 1994 foreign aid authorization bill that provides $9.3-billion in financing. The House adopted the overall legislation by voice vote and sent it to the Senate, which will be working on its own version.