1. Archive

Anti-pact campaign begins in N. Ireland

Politicians opposed to Northern Ireland's peace accord launched their "It's right to say no" campaign Tuesday, a crusade rival Protestants warned could provoke random violence against Catholics.

The accord, a compromise agreement reached April 10 among eight parties and the British and Irish governments, must pass in referendums in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic before it can be implemented.

At the official kickoff of their "no" campaign, two pro-British Protestant parties made common cause with high-ranking defectors from the major Protestant party, the Ulster Unionists, which backs the agreement.

Although they predicted most of the north's sizable Catholic minority would vote for the accord, they said the majority of Protestants would take their side.

But a representative of an outlawed pro-British gang, the Ulster Volunteer Force, which launched its own campaign Tuesday in support of compromise, warned that the "no" campaigners were encouraging random slayings of Catholics.

"Those people who say we're on the road to a united Ireland had better realize they're making people very, very nervous _ and this is making people pull triggers," said Billy Hutchinson, a former UVF gunman who spent 18 years in prison for killing two Catholics.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair arrives today to campaign for "yes" votes.

Austria remembers

victims of Holocaust

VIENNA _ Austria held its first national day of remembrance for Holocaust victims Tuesday, exactly 53 years after American troops liberated emaciated prisoners from the country's biggest Nazi death camp.

Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal, one of the prisoners freed that day from the camp at Mauthausen, and ex-President Kurt Waldheim, elected in 1986 despite concealing his World War II service with Adolf Hitler's army, both attended the joint session of parliament Tuesday.

At a nationally televised session, parliament President Heinz Fischer said the day should remind all that Auschwitz, Mauthausen and other death camps "may not be repeated, cannot be repeated and never will be."

Design approved for Paris

tribute to Princess Diana

PARIS _ The Paris city government has approved an Italian architect's design for a tribute to Princess Diana, an above-ground extension of the traffic tunnel pillar into which her Mercedes crashed last year.

Final approval on Gaetano Pesce's 12-foot, concrete-and-resin column is now up to the British government, which is consulting with the British royal family.

Pesce said he was motivated by a desire to capture the public's cathartic response to Diana's death and funeral.

The Diana Memorial Column would be a continuation of the 13th pillar, which Diana's car struck at a high speed in August, killing the princess, her companion, Dodi Fayed, and their driver, Henri Paul.

The lower portion of the column is concrete to re-create the pillar, while the upper part is made of translucent resin that will shine at night. During the day, the resin will be nearly invisible.

Right-wing death squad

kills 21 in Colombia

BOGOTA, Colombia _ A right-wing death squad killed at least 21 people during a three-hour orgy of bloodshed in a remote village in eastern Colombia, local officials and witnesses said Tuesday.

The attack, by about 200 paramilitary gunmen, occurred Monday afternoon in Puerto Alvira in Meta province, Narciso Matus, the provincial government secretary, told reporters.

President Ernesto Samper condemned the slaughter and said an elite team of police and army officers, recently set up to combat paramilitary groups, had been dispatched to the area to track down the "dark forces" responsible.