News In Brief

Overnight consultations among Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, and President Clinton failed to defuse West Bank violence, and the number of dead from three days of clashes rose to 25. Seven hundred others were hurt, and the fighting spread to the Gaza Strip. Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon, whose visit to Jerusalem's Temple Mount last week touched off the violence, expressed regret for the casualties but blamed them on "Palestinian incitement."

Senior intelligence agents from Iraq were reported in Yugo-slavia's capital to advise President Slobodan Milosevic on how to resist growing popular demands that he step down. At military academy graduation ceremonies Saturday, Milosevic said he would not bow to "psychological, media, and political pressures." He also reportedly rejected Russian offers to mediate in the dispute over who won last week's presidential election. But his political opponents vowed to begin a campaign of civil disobedience today, saying, "At 5 a.m., Serbia will come to a halt."

Defiant Falun Gong followers pulled off a new round of protests in Tiananmen Square in Beijing on China's National Day, again illustrating the failure of authorities to stamp out the banned movement. Despite intense security, one group unfurled a "Falun Gong Is Good" banner under a giant portrait of the late Communist Party chairman Mao Zedong before being wrestled away by police. Hundreds of middle-aged demonstrators were arrested, many of them by force.

An 8.5-mile "fuse" was to carry the Olympic flame from the main stadium to downtown Sydney, Australia, where hundreds of thousands of people waited to celebrate the closing of the summer Games. In the final event, Ethiopian Gezahgne Abera won the marathon, but the US captured the most medals overall - 97, to Russia's 88. The Games also were notable for the number of athletes who tested positive for use of performance-enhancing drugs: eight - the most since 10 were caught at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

Despite the symbolic surrender of a pistol and 74 bullets by an anti-independence militia chief in West Timor, Indonesia's government extended its operation to recover guerrilla weapons until Oct. 12. The date falls just before a meeting in Tokyo of international donors upon whose aid Indonesia is heavily dependent. Some donors have threatened to stop giving if the government does not get tough with the militias, who murdered three UN aid workers Sept. 6. To date, only 1,350 guns have been seized or surrendered.

A chartered yacht sank in the Greek Isles, killing one passenger in the second accident of its type in less than a week. The mishaps have focused attention on the safety of Greece's marine fleet, and authorities confined 65 ferries or cruise ships to port for failure to meet safety requirements. A third vessel ran aground Friday, but no injuries were reported.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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