World Watch

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Following the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights into British law, the country's judicial system braced for a deluge of legal challenges to a wide range of laws. For the first time, a single document — the Human Rights Act — contains a written bill of basic rights in such areas as privacy, family life, free expression and fair trial. Until now, Britain has enjoyed "negative rights" — that is, people were permitted to do anything not specifically forbidden. Court challenges related to such matters as news reporting, immigration, employment, discrimination and criminal justice are expected. Critics fear the act will be costly to defend and will strengthen minority-interest groups.

Motorists in Sicily waited in kilometer-long lines for gasoline as most stations on the Italian island closed after truckers went on strike, demanding lower fuel prices as well as reduced ferry fares. Food supplies and public transportation diminished. Until last week, Italy had largely avoided the fuel protests that blocked roads in much of Europe by agreeing to freeze gasoline prices and roll back diesel fuel costs, which are particularly high in southern Italy. In Spain, truckers ended a three-day action that had blocked the borders with France and Portugal, agreeing to government concessions that would offset rising fuel costs.

Ruling that the European Commission has no power in health regulation, the European Court of Justice overturned an E.U. prohibition on tobacco advertising and sponsorship. The E.U. executive's ban "in no way helped to facilitate trade in the products concerned," the court also said, but rather blocked the free movement of goods and services. The German government and several tobacco and advertising companies had argued that the 1998 ban impeded a single market and, in seeking to protect public health, strayed into an area in which the E.U. had no regulatory authority.

Albania's governing Socialists claimed victory in local elections across the country. Opposition assertions of fraud were not shared by international and local election monitors. In "partial official results," the Socialists said they had won 27 of 65 mayoral races, to the Democratic Party's nine. The remainder of the contests are to be decided in a second round of voting on Oct. 15. In races for 409 town council seats, the Socialists won 110, the Democrats 33 and other parties three, with the rest to be settled in runoff voting. The Democrats are led by former President Sali Berisha, who stepped down in 1997 amid popular unrest.

another day of violence and tension — billed as a "day of rage" by Palestinians — Israeli troops shot at least nine Palestinians to death in fierce battles in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Friday. Meanwhile, police stormed a bitterly contested holy site in Jerusalem, tearing down a Palestinian flag and arresting or dispersing young Palestinians. Others skirmished on the streets of the Old City. In the West Bank and Gaza Strip, tens of thousands of stone-throwing Palestinians clashed with troops as they marched on military positions. The action at the Jerusalem holy site — known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary
came on the ninth day of fighting over who will control the religious site in a final peace deal. At week's end, scores of people, most of them Palestinians, were dead and nearly 2,000 injured, and new flashpoints were erupting.

The Supreme Court barred Ivory Coast's main opposition leader from seeking the presidency. Alassane Dramane Ouattara and 14 others who sought to run in the Oct. 22 election were rejected as candidates, leaving only the military junta leader General Robert Guei and four others to contest the presidency. Ouattara's eligibility to run was brought into question by doubts over the nationality of his mother. Under the new constitution, both parents of any presidential candidate must be Ivorian. Ouattara rejects the junta's assertion that his mother's origins are in Burkina Faso.

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