News In Brief

By , Noel Paul, and Joshua S. Burek

As soon as stormy weather cleared sufficiently, rescuers were planning to lower an evacuation craft to a stricken Russian nuclear submarine with 116 crew aboard. Oxygen was running low in the vessel, which was trapped at the bottom of the Arctic Barents Sea, a Russian Navy spokesman said. The Navy chief, meanwhile, backed away from earlier statements suggesting that the submarine had been damaged in a collision with something, and said it appeared there had been an explosion in a torpedo compartment in the vessel's nose. Officials indicated that several compartments inside the submarine appeared to be flooded.

Upon learning that British and French authorities were moving to suspend the airworthiness certificate for the Concorde aircraft, British Airways grounded its fleet of seven. The airline had continued to fly the supersonic aircraft after the crash of an Air France one near Paris July 25 in which 113 people were killed. The latter carrier, which was the only other company flying Concordes, stopped its operations immediately following the accident.

The cold-war division between the Koreas melted in tears and hugs as relatives from the two sides met in the countries' capitals for brief reunions. The event yesterday, which also was the 55th anniversary of Korea's liberation from Japanese colonial rule, marked the first family reunions since 1985. But only 100 people from each side made the trip to the other nation, prompting the head of the North Korean delegation to say that more rounds of visits would follow.

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After some 20 hours of talks in Zambia, African leaders ended a peace summit in failure. Congolese President Laurent Kabila refused to give ground on two key issues: allowing the unhindered deployment of UN troops and accepting former Botswana leader Ketumile Masire as a mediator. Last year six nations and rebel groups signed an agreement to stabilize the Democratic Republic of Congo, but continued fighting prompted calls for further talks.

A four-month hostage crisis in the Philippines appeared closer to resolution as government negotiators announced a dozen Western captives could be released as early as tomorrow under a deal bankrolled by Libya. Although the negotiators characterized the deal as involving ransom, one of them denied reports that as much as $25 million in cash was going to the Muslim rebel captors.

Amid unprecedented security around India as it prepared for Independence Day, a bomb exploded on a train in the northern part of the country, killing at least nine people and wounding about 35. Police said they believed the attack was orchestrated by the Inter Services Intelligence, the secret service of Pakistan. Otherwise, yesterday's ceremonies passed off largely peacefully.

With up to 800 Islamic guerrillas reportedly gathering along the Tajikistan border with Kyrgyzstan, those two states plus Uzbekistan announced they'd join forces. Since last week, government troops and guerrillas have clashed in remote mountainous areas. A Kyrgyz official said 17 troops have been killed and that more than 40 rebels were dead. The Interfax news agency reported that eight Uzbek troops and more than 30 rebels also had been killed.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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