HONG KONG DEFIES CHINESE AUTHORITIES Hong Kong's government defied China Nov. 30 and decided to proceed with the least controversial proposals for reforming the British colony's political structure, Hong Kong radio said. While Hong Kong's transfer to Chinese rule in 1997 is unalterable, its future constitutional structure is not settled. China has undertaken to keep Hong Kong autonomous and capitalist for 50 years. But Hong Kong's London-appointed governor wants to make it democratic by broadening its voters' power and making its governing bodies more directly elected. China sees the proposals as an 11th-hour attempt to implant British constitutional structures. British and Chinese negotiators broke off talks Nov. 27, with Britain making veiled threats to enact reforms without Chinese approval, and China warning it may not honor such a move. Kurds bombed, banned

Turkish jets bombed nine suspected Kurdish rebel strongholds Nov. 30. In France, the Cabinet Nov. 30 banned two Kurdish groups it said were front organizations for the Kurdistan Workers' Party. Meanwhile, in Germany, Kurds there warned the Bonn government that its crackdown on Kurdish activity could lead to retaliatory attacks. US-Japan markets

US Sen. Frank Murkowski (R) of Alaska said Nov. 30 that Japan should award 2 percent of its public-works contracts to foreign competitors within five years as a target for proving that its construction market had been opened. The closed nature of the Japanese market has long been a source of controversy in trade talks. Church sells station

The Christian Science Church announced Nov. 30 the sale of its shortwave station in Scott's Corners, Maine. The programming transmitted from there will be merged with that transmitted from its Cyprus Creek, S.C., facility, which will be expanded. This allows the church to provide its service more efficiently, a spokesman said. The Maine station was sold to Prophecy Countdown Inc., a nonprofit Seventh Day Adventist group in Florida. Consumer confidence soars

US consumer confidence rose sharply in November, reflecting optimism about the job market and the economy in general, The Conference Board reported Nov. 30. Its index registered an unexpectedly strong gain of 11 points to reach 71.2. Some economists were expecting a 1 point gain. Such rises have occurred ``only rarely,'' a spokesman said. Korea nuclear showdown

North Korea warned the US on Nov. 30 that it was prepared to suffer sanctions or even war over the nuclear issue, even though it wanted a ``peaceful and negotiated solution.'' The US and its allies have accused North Korea of developing nuclear weapons, which the secretive Stalinist state has denied. Pyongyang has refused to allow international inspections. Representative to retire

With a blast at the press and both political parties, Rep. J. Alex McMillan (R) of North Carolina announced Nov. 29 he will not seek reelection. In a letter to his constituents, the five-term congressman said he is frustrated with Congress and with ``an increasingly voyeuristic news media that seeks to shock and infuriate.'' Sir George

Former President Bush has been awarded an honorary knighthood, the highest honor Britain can bestow on a foreigner, the Foreign Office announced Nov. 29. He received the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, the rarely awarded top order of knighthoods. The only other American to receive the award since World War II was former US President Ronald Reagan. Thai unions restored

The Thai Cabinet Nov. 29 approved a bill that would restore the right of workers to set up labor unions in both the government and the private sector. State enterprise unions were outlawed by a military junta that toppled an elected government in 1991. The current government comprises mostly parties that supported the successful public backlash against the junta in 1992.

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.