News In Brief

Muslim extremists were being blamed for the explosion of a powerful bomb at the residence of the Philippines ambassador to Indonesia, which killed two people and injured the envoy and at least 20 others. The house was heavily damaged, sending frightened staffers into the street. President Abdurrahman Wahid, whose nation is wracked by separatist violence, linked the attack to identical problems "in the southern Philippines." Islamic groups there are accused of supplying weapons to their counterparts in Indonesia.

A boycott of the Sept. 24 elections in Yugoslavia by opposition groups appeared likely to stand despite the urgings of Secretary of State Albright. A spokesman for the Serbian Renewal Movement, the largest such group, said "there should be no discussion" of the elections after Albright asked opposition leaders to unite behind a single candidate to challenge hard-line President Slobodan Milosevic. The president of Montenegro, the smaller of Yugoslavia's two republics, also has vowed a boycott and hinted he'd declare independence if Milosevic wins.

The three-day general strike intended as the most broadly based challenge yet to Zimbabwean President Mugabe's 20-year rule will be scaled back to one day, union leaders said. A spokesman said the walkout, scheduled for today, is meant as a warning to Mugabe to end political violence and "will" be repeated over a longer time if he doesn't respond. It also is backed by white farmers, some business people, and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

All supersonic Concordes in Air France's fleet were grounded indefinitely by the Paris government, pending the outcome of probes into last week's fatal crash. Investigators were trying to establish the sequence of developments that caused the accident, which killed 113 people: at least one blown tire, landing gear that didn't retract, loss of power in two engines, and a fire resulting from leaking fuel.

Columns of black smoke were hanging over Vientiane, Laos, from a massive fire - the latest in a series of incidents that have disrupted the capital since early spring. The blaze followed by one day a bomb explosion outside the main post office that hurt at least seven people. There was no obvious link between the incidents. But a bomb scare was reported at Vientiane's airport, and on Sunday an explosive device was defused outside the Embassy of Vietnam. Bombs also have gone off at the central market, the bus station, a major hotel, and a restaurant favored by tourists. The attacks appeared aimed at embarrassing the government, which permits no dissent.

Over international protests, five Japanese whaling ships were at sea under orders to return with two species not hunted since 1987. Officials said the ships should take 10 sperm and 50 Bryde's whales in addition to the usual harvest of minkes, arguing that populations of the first two species have recovered enough to sustain a small hunt. The hunt is being criticized by the International Whaling Commission and the US, which has threatened economic sanctions.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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