World Watch

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Eight people were killed at a rock concert at the annual Roskilde music festival near Copenhagen when fans of the American group Pearl Jam surged toward the stage where the band was playing. Despite pleas from band members to the crowd to move back, the audience pressed forward and, with the ground muddy and slippery from rain, people fell and were trampled in the crush. The festival is one of the largest of its kind in Europe, drawing crowds of about 100,000 and some 175 acts. Friday's incident marked the first time the event has been marred by tragedy.

In his most detailed response to seven months of corruption accusations, former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl told a parliamentary inquiry that neither he nor any member of his government had taken bribes. Kohl denounced what he called "an act of unparalleled defamation" against him. For months press reports have described how former members of Kohl's Christian Democratic Party used bank accounts in Liechtenstein to receive payments connected with the sale of the former East German oil refinery at Leuna. The cdu has also been rocked by accusations of bribery in connection with the sale of 20 armored cars to Saudi Arabia. Kohl said he also could not be blamed for the reported disappearance of Leuna-related files from the Chancellery office.

The Austrian government agreed to an E.U. decision to appoint a panel that will monitor Austria's human rights commitments. But Conservative Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel expressed disappointment that the diplomatic sanctions imposed in February by Austria's 14 E.U. partners, following the inclusion of the far-right Freedom Party in the ruling coalition, will remain in place. Vienna was also miffed that no time-frame had been set for the panel to submit its report, which would also examine the "evolution of the political nature" of the Freedom Party. Jörg Haider, no longer leader but still a dominant force in the party, said he would only cooperate with unprejudiced, friendly monitors.

Barely a week after Russia's military commander in Chechnya had proclaimed the war there all but over, bewildered Russians learned that a major battle had been raging for days near the village of Sergen-Yurt, south of Grozny. The high numbers of casualties — 15 Russians killed, 29 wounded and, according to Moscow, 120 Chechen deaths — made it impossible for the Kremlin to conceal the news. For their part, the Chechens insisted that they had wiped out an élite Russian unit, killing at least 97. By week's end, Russian General Gennady Troshev had declared victory, saying that Sergen-Yurt had been "annihilated."

A court in Shiraz sentenced 10 Iranian Jews to prison terms of four to 13 years on charges of spying for Israel and acquitted three others. Prosecutors alleged the defendants had spied for Israel's Mossad intelligence service for years, though the defense maintained they had transmitted no classified information and that confessions their clients gave without counsel were inadmissible. International Jewish groups and Western governments were harshly critical of the closed proceedings, in which the judge also acted as prosecutor. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke condemned the convictions as a "kangaroo proceeding," though Western diplomats in Tehran said this week that any sentence short of death would not endanger Iran's cautious rapprochement with the West. Those with lighter sentences may be released early, and the convictions can be appealed twice.

Cape Town
A surprising end to the political force that created statutory apartheid in South Africa was announced when the New National Party — reformed in 1998 from the original whites-only, Afrikaner-based National Party that drafted the racial segregation laws in the 1950s — agreed to merge with the liberal Democratic Party to form the Democratic Alliance, a parliamentary opposition group against the majority African National Congress government. The partners will retain their individual names in Parliament until the 2004 general election, but will jointly contest local elections in November. With a total of 68 seats in the 400-seat Parliament, the two parties will present what the alliance leader, the DP's Tony Leon, called "a crucial strengthening" of the opposition.

The Jammu and Kashmir assembly passed a resolution demanding autonomy for the troubled Indian state, where Muslim insurgents have waged a decade-long independence struggle. In the unlikely event that New Delhi grants autonomy, Kashmir would return to its pre-1953 status, when it had its own flag, president and prime minister. In New Delhi, leaders of both the ruling and opposition parties condemned the resolution. The move is being widely seen as an attempt by the local chief minister, Farooq Abdullah, to regain lost political ground by backing a popular issue.

In a move that underscored the extent to which the relationship between North and South Korea has warmed since last month's historic summit, the two nations agreed to reunite family members who have not seen each other since the Korean peninsula was divided by war in 1949. An agreement signed by Red Cross officials from both sides will allow each country to send 100 individuals to the other side on Aug. 15 to meet with relatives. The deal also calls for South Korea to allow dozens of aging jailed spies who wish to return to the north to do so.

A ferry carrying hundreds of refugees fleeing the violence in North Maluku was reported to have sunk en route to the neighboring Indonesian province of North Sulawesi. The cause of the accident and the number of fatalities were still undetermined at week's end, but the 270 people-capacity vessel was believed to have been carrying up to 500 passengers. Tens of thousands of residents are fleeing sectarian violence that has left at least 169 Muslims and Christians dead after two weeks of fighting on the island of Halmahera and in the capital of Ambon. TaipeiIn an apparent concession to Beijing that took observers by surprise, newly elected Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian told a team of visiting Americans that he was prepared to accept the mainland's "one China" principle. That formulation, articulated in 1992, allows both sides their own interpretation of what "one China" means. Until last week, Chen had insisted he could not accept the principle before holding talks with the mainland. Taiwanese officials later denied that there had been any change in Chen's position, prompting Beijing to demand that Taiwan acknowledge that it is a part of China.

After rebels ignored a deadline for freeing the 27 M.P.s they have held hostage for six weeks, Fiji's military government called off negotiations and announced plans to isolate the rebels in the Parliament compound. A military spokesman said many soldiers were itching to invade the precinct and "have a go at these people." Rebel frontman George Speight and former army Colonel Ilisoni Ligairi, who says he was the real leader of the May 19 coup, warned that any military bullying — even power cuts or food rationing — would put hostages' lives at risk. In a gesture of support for the military, unions in Fiji and Australia lifted labor and trade bans that threatened to crush the economy.São PauloLuiz Estevao, owner of Brazil's giant Incal construction company, became the first person in the country's history to be expelled from the Senate and stripped of congressional immunity. He is accused of pocketing part of $95 million in excess fees for the construction of a judicial building in São Paulo.

Securities regulators accused one of Canada's largest pension-fund managers and 11 prominent brokerage firms of widespread stock-manipulation offenses, alleging that officials at RT Capital Management, which controls $23 billion in retirement savings, placed orders with brokers to artificially inflate their fund performance, raising the value of the companies' stock holdings by $25 million.

By a surprisingly narrow vote of five to four, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a vaguely worded Nebraska state law that banned doctors from using certain procedures when terminating a pregnancy. Activists who want the court to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that guarantees a woman's right to an abortion were encouraged by the narrowness of the ruling . The issue is expected to become volatile in the upcoming presidential election as the next President is likely to make several appointments to the court as older justices retire. Vice President Albert Gore, who supports abortion rights, used the ruling to attack the anti-abortion views of Republican presidential hopeful George W. Bush as "quite extreme."