News In Brief

As tens of thousands of protesters surrounded a US air base on Okinawa, leaders of the world's industrialized democracies were arriving for the Group of Eight (G-8) annual meeting. The demonstration was a show of opposition to the American military presence on the island and was directed at President Clinton, although he had yet to arrive. The G-8 conference, under host Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, is to last through Sunday.

In front of visiting school children, police dragged and shoved Falun Gong members out of Beijing's Tiananmen Square on the first anniversary of a government crackdown against the meditation movement. About 100 followers were involved, one of them a woman who was punched repeatedly in the face to stop her from shrieking. At a news briefing later, a Foreign Ministry spokesman called Falun Gong "an evil sect that has brought calamity" to China. But analysts said the latest incident, although it lasted only a few minutes, showed the movement's resiliency.

Angry members of parliament jeered Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid, who instructed an aide to tell them they had no right to question his handling of governmental affairs. Lawmakers wanted to grill the embattled leader on his controversial dismissal of two Cabinet ministers. The incident was seen as a dress rehearsal for Wahid's scheduled Aug. 7 state-of-the-nation address, an account of his first year in office, which has been characterized by massive social and economic problems. Parliament cannot fire Wahid, but the more powerful People's Consultative Assembly can.

A military attack on Pakistan, even by conventional forces, could be met by the use of nuclear weapons, a senior official warned. Deputy Foreign Minister Inam ul-Haq's remarks, on an official visit to Germany, appeared to go farther than the stated government policy of "responsibility and restraint." He cited rival India as a "hegemonic power" capable of threatening Pakistan's existence. Although both nations have tested nuclear weapons, India maintains it has a no-first-use policy.

The father of Cuban baseball star Andy Morales was accepting congratulations from neighbors after receiving word that his son successfully reached US soil in his second try in two months. The younger Morales, who hopes to play professionally in the major leagues, was among eight Cubans found by the Border Patrol on an island near Key West, Fla., and was in temporary custody in a detention center. He was intercepted at sea by the Coast Guard on his first attempt to flee and returned to Cuba in disgrace. US policy allows asylum-seeking Cubans to stay only if they set foot on dry land.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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