EUROPE

NATO Peacekeepers Wounded in Kosovo

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia -- Attackers hurled grenades and firebombs at a Serbian Orthodox church in southwestern Kosovo, slightly wounding two Italian soldiers guarding it, NATO said yesterday.

Italian Lt. Fabrizio Centofanti said that three attackers hurled two grenades and two firebombs over a wall surrounding the church in Djakovica late Wednesday. Italian soldiers, who guard the church around the clock, opened fire and the attackers fled.

Meanwhile, an ethnic Albanian forensic expert reported the existence of another mass burial site on the outskirts of Pristina, Kosovo's capital, holding up to perhaps 200 bodies.

Russia Says Economy Will Grow in 2000

MOSCOW -- Russia's economy should grow by 1.5 percent in 2000, Economics Minister Andrei Shapovalyants predicted.

If the economy does grow, it would only be the second period of growth in the 1990s. In 1997, it grew by 0.8 percent.

The predictions came as Finance Minister Mikhail Kasyanov unveiled the final budget draft for 2000. Kasyanov said Russia would spend $25 billion and take in revenues of $32 billion in 2000, similar to figures for this year.

ASIA

S. Koreans Stage Gunfight in War Games

SEOUL -- South Korean troops fired blanks and threw fake hand grenades during a military exercise in Seoul, prompting North Korea to condemn the fourth day of drills as provocative.

The simulated gunfight, intended to train soldiers for war on the Korean peninsula, involved 1,200 soldiers and police on an eight-lane boulevard in northern Seoul. A group of soldiers played the role of North Korean infiltrators who tried to occupy a main government building.

It was part of a 12-day annual military exercise held jointly with U.S. troops that largely involves computer-simulated games.

Pakistan Criticizes Indian Nuclear Proposal

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Pakistan said that India's recently announced draft nuclear doctrine was a "dangerous escalation" of the arms race and showed New Delhi's desire to become a global power.

Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmed said Islamabad could not ignore India's plans to boost its conventional and nuclear weapons programs and would "intensify Pakistan's reliance on its nuclear capabilities to deter the use or threat of aggression by India."

Meanwhile, in New Delhi, India responded to U.S. criticism of its proposed doctrine, saying it had the right to decide its own security interests.

Taiwan Pursues Missile Defense Plan

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- With China raising the volume on its threats to attack Taiwan, the island's cabinet accelerated plans for an island-wide network to shoot down Chinese missiles.

Taiwan plans to establish an effective early warning system to detect airborne Chinese planes and missiles and build a "total missile defense system," Premier Vincent Siew told the cabinet. The cabinet will put its plans before the legislature at the start of the new session Sept. 1.

THE AMERICAS

Three Acquitted in Trial of Brazilian Police

BRASILIA -- A Brazilian jury acquitted three of 150 policemen being tried for a 1996 peasant massacre in a verdict that President Fernando Henrique Cardoso said baffled those hoping for justice.

The verdict was returned by a jury in the northern city of Belem, where seven senior officers and 143 policemen went on trial Monday for the killing of 19 peasant demonstrators in the remote Amazon state of Para.

Local media quoted jury members as saying there was insufficient evidence against the three, but a government minister termed the decision shameful and Cardoso said "it produces a slightly strange sensation in anyone who was hoping for some degree of condemnation."

Castro Warns U.S. on Colombia Intervention HAVANA -- Cuban President Fidel Castro, in a speech lasting into the early hours yesterday, said any U.S. military intervention in conflict-torn Colombia would be "a colossal disaster" for the world.

"I think it would be a great madness for the United States to carry out a military intervention there, a massive, incredible mistake," Castro said at the close of an anti-capitalist youth conference in Havana.

Some analysts have raised the possibility of U.S.-led military intervention in Colombia to try to halt a long-running guerrilla war. Washington has denied it is mulling such a plan.

AFRICA

Labor Strife Continues in South Africa

JOHANNESBURG -- About 8,000 public workers joined a telecommunications strike, union officials said, slowing phone services and foreshadowing the biggest labor action since apartheid ended in 1994.

A larger strike, set to begin Tuesday amid a dispute over wage increases, has been called by a dozen unions teachers, nurses, police officers and other unionized civil servants. President Thabo Mbeki's government has said it will grant only 6.3 percent increases to public workers, short of the 7.3 percent demanded by their unions.

FOR THE RECORD

CAIRO -- Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Mohammed Hamza Zubeidi, appearing healthy in a televised interview today, denied opposition claims that he had been wounded in an assassination attempt this week.

NAIROBI -- Ernest Wamba dia Wamba, leader of one of Congo's rebel factions, said at least 200 people were killed in three days of fighting between Rwandan and Ugandan troops in Kisangani.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

If we can make one family happy today, we've had a pretty good day. If we can make a lot of families happy, that's what we shoot for."

Fairfax County Fire Capt. Dewey Perks in quake-stricken Derince, Turkey -- Page A1