News In Brief

An estimated 60,000 demonstrators jammed Nice, France, to protest the opening of a crucial meeting of the European Union aimed at forging new power-sharing rules for the alliance as it adds up to 13 new members from the former Soviet bloc. The protesters, mostly trade unionists, said they wanted to ensure that the EU leaders reverse "years of making economic decisions without considering the social ramifications." (Story, page 6.)

The families of Israel's embassy staff in Jordan were sent home as a precaution after the second shooting attack against one of its diplomats in less than three weeks. The wounded man was not seriously hurt. An underground group claimed responsibility for the attack and vowed others would follow.

A new six-month extension of the UN program allowing Iraq to export oil in exchange for food and humanitarian supplies was OK'd by the Security Council. A government source in Baghdad said Iraq was likely to accept it. But on a visit to Egypt, Iraq's trade minister called the program "a total failure."

As many as six suspects will be tried next month for the Oct. 12 terrorist attack on the US Navy destroyer Cole, Yemen's prime minister said. He said he had no details on their roles in the incident, which killed 17 crew members and injured 39 others. But he said all the suspects are Yemeni.

Fidel Castro and a clergywoman from the US were to attend the seventh birthday festivities for returned Cuban castaway Elian Gonzalez. The occasion also was marked by four-month-old footage shown on Cuban TV of Castro's first meeting with the boy (above). The Rev. Joan Brown Campbell, ex-head of the National Council of Churches and a key player in reuniting Elian with his father, said she'd present him with a new camera.

Elections observers and technical assistance for Sunday's elections in Ivory Coast were canceled by the UN and the Organization of African Unity. Both said the moves were a result of the ruling last week by the nation's Supreme Court barring opposition leader Alassane Ouattara from seeking a seat in parliament. Fighting between Ouattara supporters and those of President Laurent Gbagbo ended after two days, and the main city, Abidjan, was reported calm.

A new law forbidding couples from using medical means to determine the gender of their unborn children quietly went into effect in a key province in China last month, the Xinhua news agency reported. The measure, which applies to Anhui in eastern China, bans the use of ultrasound scanners and contains certain prohibitions on abortion. Analysts called the report an admission by the government that its one-child policy has led to an unnatural and potentially unhealthy gender imbalance. The report said the imbalance has been caused by aborting female fetuses detected by ultrasound exams.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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