News In Brief

A new, three-way peace summit among Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, and President Clinton appears likely in New York Sept. 6 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly's opening session. Senior Palestinian sources said Barak and Arafat would meet in a resumption of efforts that ended unsuccessfully at Camp David, Md., last month. Clinton may join them, the sources said. The two sides have set Sept. 13 as their target for a final deal, although they appear well short of agreement on key issues.

Local police officials were refusing to comment on reported rioting by tens of thousands of Chinese farmers protesting against burdensome taxes. The demonstrations in eastern Jiangxi province, where the Communist revolution began in the 1940s, had been raging for a week before paramilitary police were ordered in Aug. 23, the Hong Kong-based Center for Human Rights and Democracy said. Despite orders from Beijing to limit agricultural taxation in the already impoverished region, local officials continue to demand two-thirds of net farm income, the reports said.

A Roman Catholic mass led by Nobel Peace Prizewinner Bishop Carlos Belo is scheduled to lead off first-anniversary celebrations today of East Timor's successful vote for independence. But, ominously, UN peacekeepers reported exchanging gunfire with anti-independence militiamen infiltrating from Indonesian West Timor who've threatened to disrupt the ceremonies. East Timor is administered by the UN as it prepares for statehood after decades of repressive Indonesian rule and a rampage by anti-independence dissidents in the wake of last year's vote that killed an estimated 1,200 people.

Despite a boycott by opposition parties, the newly elected members of the National Assembly from ex-Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide's Lavalas Family assumed their seats for the first time. The legislature is to begin work Sept. 11. Lavalas won 18 of 19 seats in the upper house and 72 of 82 in the lower house in disputed elections that began in May, giving Aristide firm control over the legislature if, as expected, he seeks to return to the presidency later this year. The US and European Union have threatened to suspend aid to Haiti if the outcome of the elections isn't amended.

Four hundred special tests for the performance-enhancing drug EPO will be conducted at the Summer Games in Australia, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced. The drug, also known as erythropoietin, was at the center of a scandal at the 1998 Tour de France bicycle race. The tests will be given at the athletes' village in Sydney beginning Saturday, meaning users already must have stopped taking EPO or risk detection. EPO is the "in" drug for endurance sports such as swimming and distance running. Twenty-four hundred other drug tests also will be administered, the IOC said.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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