News In Brief

An estimated 1 million people thronged downtown Sydney, Australia, in anticipation of tonight's opening ceremonies for the 2000 Olympic summer Games. Officials worked to fine-tune security and the massive system of trains and buses required to transport spectators during the 17-day event. Mayor Frank Sartor and golfer Karrie Webb lit the Olympic flame, which will be carried to Stadium Australia, the main arena. Almost 4 billion people around the world are expected to watch the Games on television.

Although a poll showed 80 percent support for the protests against high motor fuel prices in Britain, farmers and truckers called off several of their blockades, claiming they'd won a moral victory and worrying that public opinion ultimately would turn against them. Prime Minister Tony Blair promised to listen to protesters' concerns but refused to relent on his pledge not to cut fuel taxes. In continental Europe, the protests were affecting Belgium, Germany, Spain, Greece, and the Netherlands.

The bomb that exploded in downtown Jakarta, killing 15 people, was likely planted by supporters of ex-President Suharto, who is on trial for corruption, Indonesia's attorney general said. Marzuki Darusman suggested rogue elements of the military could be responsible for the blast in the garage of Jakarta's Stock Exchange. Meanwhile, hundreds of students clashed with police near Suharto's home after he failed to appear at his graft trial because of ill health.

Angry supporters of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic pelted his leading challenger with stones, plastic bottles, eggs, and fruit as he tried to speak at a campaign rally in the volatile Kosovo city of Kosovska Mitrovica. Vojislav Kostunica was hit in the face and driven from a stage, then pursued to his car. Kostunica leads by 18 points in opinion polls with nine days remaining until the presidential election, although political observers predict Milosevic will steal it.

The 1991 Nobel Peace Prize-winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, was free to resume "daily activities as usual" after the military junta in Myanmar (Burma) ended tight security controls against her and eight other opponents of the government. The democracy activist was padlocked inside her home in Yangon, the capital, Sept. 1 following an unsuccessful attempt to travel outside the city.

"Suitable measures" were threatened by Iraq against neighboring Kuwait for what the Baghdad government called sabotage of its oil fields and theft of their reserves. It did not say what actions would be taken. Identical accusations preceded Iraq's 1990 military invasion that led to the Persian Gulf War. Afterward, Kuwait was awarded sections of a disputed oil field on their border under a UN demarcation plan.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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