Around the world, a collective sigh
Despite dire predictions, 2000 began with barely a blip of
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China's leadership, not a group that thinks small, is considering its country's prospects over the next century. Flanked by traditional red-paper lanterns inscribed with the Chinese characters for "new life" and "2000," President Jiang Zemin spoke in a televised speech about a history five millennia long.Skip to next paragraph
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"The Chinese nation will be rejuvenated in the new century," he promised.
While President Jiang wants the Communist Party to lead the way, many Chinese have very different visions of the future. "Of course I want to see China become a great power in the 21st century," says a young Chinese software engineer. "But I hope that it is a democratic superpower modeled after the American system."
Cautions for coming years
Not everyone is so enamored of some aspects of that system. Japan's influential Asahi newspaper, in its New Year's editorial, warned that the world's population, now 6 billion, could reach 10 billion by 2100.
"If the per capita consumption of oil reaches the current American level," the paper said, "oil production would have to be sextupled."
If everyone ate meat the way Americans do, the Asahi said, four Earths would be needed to produce the necessary grain. The paper urged developed countries to think anew about their priorities.
In a New Year's Day radio address, Mr. Clinton promot- ed the idea of American leadership.
"To advance our interests and protect our values in this new interconnected world, America clearly must remain engaged," he said.
"We must shape events and not be shaped by them."
Trouble-free in Holy Land
In Jerusalem, where officials had to worry about containing enthusiasts of global Apocalypse on top of their Y2K preparations, the relief was doubled.
Last year, Israel deported some 60 members of small Christian sects out of concern they might use violence or commit mass suicide to try to trigger the apocalypse. But during the rollover, only a handful of people were brought in for examination after shouting out declarations about the world coming to an end.
Saturday morning, Israel Radio reported that it hadn't. "If you are waking up now after New Year's parties," an announcer said, "we can tell you that everything is fine."
Canadian Peter de Jager, one of the first computer experts to alert the world to the potential Y2K crisis, passed into the new year aboard United Airlines Flight 928, which was somewhere over eastern Canada on its way to London.
Once the clock clicked over from Dec. 31 to Jan. 1 (as measured by "universal coordinated time" used by the aviation industry), Mr. de Jager told reporters that he was now "officially unemployed."
Reported by staff writers Cameron W. Barr in Tokyo, Peter Ford in Paris, Judith Matloff in Moscow, and Kevin Platt in Beijing, and contributors Shawn Donnan in the Chatham Islands, New Zealand, Ilene R. Prusher in Jerusalem, and Tom Regan in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Written by Cameron W. Barr.
(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society