News In Brief

Negotiators for the Palestinian Authority should "knock the table over" if Israel were to have complete control over Jerusalem in a final peace deal, demonstrators in the West Bank and Gaza maintained. Hundreds rallied as the talks in Maryland were in their "make or break" phase.

The proposed US national missile defense system was "firmly opposed" in a joint statement signed in Beijing by Chinese President Jiang Zemin and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. They said such a shield would have "grave adverse consequences" to Chinese and Russian security interests. Analysts noted, however, that nothing in the statement barred Russia from accepting an antimissile shield in later negotiations with the US.

Saying, "the fun is just beginning," Fijian rebel chief George Speight predicted new civil unrest after only two of his followers were named to the Cabinet of President Josefa Iloilo. Speight complained he hadn't been consulted fully in the selection of ministers, although most of his demands were met, mainly the exclusion of ethnic Indians.

The top two sports officials of the former communist East Germany were convicted of being parties to the systematic "doping" of potential world-class athletes. Manfred Ewald and Manfred Hoeppner were sentenced by a Berlin court to probation and ordered to pay the legal expenses of women in the program who experienced damaging hormonal changes after prolonged use of steroids disguised as vitamins.

More political problems confronted British Prime Minister Tony Blair as a new opinion poll showed his popularity at its lowest level against the opposition Conservative Party since his landslide election victory in 1997. The survey for The Guardian newspaper gave Blair and his Labour Party a 42 percent to 35 percent margin. It was conducted before an embarrassing memo written by Blair - and leaked to news outlets - showed him obsessed with concern that the public views his government as out of touch with British values. He has less than two years to call a new election.

With a national election only four months away, the president of Romania announced he won't seek another term. Emil Constantinescu acknowledged making little progress in eliminating corruption, a 1996 campaign pledge. Analysts said his move raises the prospects of two contenders closely identified with the former communist regime - chiefly ex-President Ion Iliescu, whom Constantinescu defeated four years ago.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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