News In Brief

NO, WE WON'T HELP YOU OUT There are good neighbors, and then there are the people who live near Joseph Webb. As the Milwaukee resident and his wife attended church last Sunday, a burglar broke into their house to steal all the valuables he could carry. Happily for the Webbs, however, he was spotted, and word spread quickly up and down their block. When he tried to leave, he found every avenue of escape blocked by a citizens posse. Moreover, one of them had phoned the police, who found the suspect still trapped inside. Said a neighbor who was part of the group: "We just did what was right."

BUT THE TAX STAYED THE SAME If you're one of those folks who laugh off the potential of Y2K computer problems, read on. From Portland, Maine, comes word that one has happened already. State computers, misreading 2000 as 1900, generated hundreds of titles for brand-new cars and trucks under the category "horseless carriage" - the official designation for vehicles built before 1916. Still, Gov. Angus King (I) says government computers should be OK by Jan. 1.

US cites seven nations for violating religious freedom The State Department announced last week that China and six other countries are subject to possible US sanctions for engaging in or tolerating "particularly severe" violations of religious freedom. The action leaves the secretary of State with a range of options, including economic penalties. Of the seven nations cited, China is the only one with which the US currently has diplomatic relations. The report says Chinese government intolerance of religion has led in some areas to persecution - including harassment, detention, and incarceration - of people on the basis of their religious practices. The seven nations cited (in alphabetical order):

Afghanistan

Burma

China

Iran

Iraq

Sudan

Yugoslavia (Serbia) - Associated Press

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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