News In Brief

Religious leaders were expected to add their appeal for a "holy war" to Chechnya President Aslan Maskhadov's declaration of martial law as invading Russian troops advanced deeper into the breakaway region. Maskhadov said he acted "to protect the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity." The Russians reportedly were considering whether to push their incursion into the mountainous south, where Islamic fighters, skilled at guerrilla raids, would likely hold the upper hand.

An opposition campaign to force Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic from power appeared to be running out of steam. The 15th day of street protests in Belgrade, the capital, drew only a few thousand marchers, who were easily forced to change their direction by riot police. Thousands of others, however, turned out for the funeral of opposition leader Vuk Draskovic's brother-in-law, who was among those killed in a highway crash that the charismatic politician says was an attempt on his life.

The presidential hopes of opposition leader Megawati Sukarno-putri appeared to be slipping away as a political rival won the top post in Indonesia's parliament. Despite her Democratic Party for Struggle's victory in June elections, the chairman of the ruling Golkar Party, an ally of widely unpopular President B.J. Habibie, easily took the speakership in a secret ballot. Meanwhile, her main ally, the Nation Awakening Party, was considering whether to put its own chief forward as a presidential candidate. A constitutional assembly will choose the next chief executive Oct. 20.

In a first for the nuclear-power industry in Japan, the business license of the uranium-processing plant at the center of last week's accident will be revoked, the government said. The mishap, considered the worst of its type in Japan, contaminated 49 workers. The plant operator, has admitted changing official procedures to save time.

A surprise visit to a camp for victims of the eight-year civil war in Sierra Leone ended in tears for the country's ex-junta chief, Johnny Paul Koroma. Koroma, who returned home Sunday under terms of a peace deal with the government he tried to topple, apologized to people maimed by his rebels. But he was jeered when he tried to say he'd never ordered amputations and was unable to reach the rebels in time when he learned what they were doing.

Investigators of the worst rail accident in Britain in a decade were expected to look first at whether the engineer of an outbound commuter train ignored a red light near London's busy Paddington Station. Authorities raised the number of casualties from the collision with a packed inbound train to 27 deaths and more than 160 injuries.

Rivers were at 40-year-high levels in eastern Mexico as torrential rains fell without letup. Forty-nine people were reported dead, more than 100,000 others were seeking shelter on higher ground, and hundreds of cities, towns, and villages were cut off by flooding. Steady rains have soaked Mexico or parts of Central America for almost three weeks.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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