News In Brief

New casualties were reported on both sides as Palestinians and Israelis tried to comply with their agreement earlier this week to quell violence and ease tensions. With a 48-hour extended deadline for compliance looming, Jewish settlers and Palestinians exchanged gunfire near Nablus on the West Bank. One Palestinian died and nine other people were wounded. Elsewhere, officials said the closure of Palestinian areas would remain until further notice, barring tens of thousands of workers from reaching their jobs inside Israel.

A crack appeared to be opening in what had been increasingly close relations between South Korea and the rival communist North. The South filed a formal complaint "regretting" what it called a failure to honor a June 15 deal calling for reunions between families separated by the peninsula's 1950-1953 war. Only one such get-together has been held so far, and preparations for the next, Nov. 2-4, have yet to begin. Progress also has stalled on at least four other provisions in the agreement.

US peacekeepers were blocked from patrolling an ethnically tense Bosnian city and were pelted with eggs and fruit as protests over the presence of Muslim residents entered a third day. Agitation in Brcko, one of the major flash points in Bosnia's 3-1/2-year civil war, began with the beating of a Muslim student by Serbs. Later, Muslim-owned businesses and homes were smashed. The peacekeepers were called in after local police lost control of the situation. The 1995 US-brokered Dayton peace agreement failed to resolve which ethnic group would control the city.

Calm returned to the suburbs of Zimbabwe's capital after three days of violent riots over a new round of price increases on food staples and public transit fares. But Zimrights, the national human rights organization, said it was investigating 500 reports of "brute force" used against unarmed civilians by police - among them seven journalists who were severely beaten as they tried to cover the protests. Zimrights also disputed police claims that 71 people had been arrested, saying it had reports that the number was more than twice as high.

A suspected Tamil Tiger suicide bomber killed himself and two bystanders near the home of Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunga minutes before she was about to swear in her new Cabinet. The blast also injured 21 others, three of them American women. Police suspected the 42-member Cabinet was the bomber's intended target. Kumaratunga herself was blinded in one eye after a similar attack last Dec. 18.

A $102 billion public spending program to try to put the world's second-largest economy back on its feet was proposed by the Japanese government. The latest in a series of high-profile economic stimulus plans, it earmarks $43.6 billion for infrastructure projects such as a high-speed telecommunications network to link the nation's schools. The plan also proposes steps to bring 40 percent of the population online by the end of 2001, including free Internet training.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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