Falun Gong Members Arrested in China
BEIJING--In a rare acknowledgment that the Chinese government has failed to snuff out the banned Falun Gong religious sect despite a massive police operation, state-run media reported today that 19 followers held a gathering in Beijing to challenge the ban and were subsequently arrested.
The government has detained thousands of followers and forced tens of thousands of others to undergo "reeducation" since it banned Falun Gong on July 22, but this is the first time it announced any arrests.
The paper said five of the followers remain under police custody, while nine others have been released. Five who had come from provinces outside Beijing were sent home to face charges.
N. Korea Celebrates Anniversary
SEOUL--North Korea marked the 51st anniversary of its founding with nationwide celebrations and another demand for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Korea.
But to the relief of its neighbors, the celebrations did not include the launching of long-range ballistic missile that Pyongyang has been threatening to test. Just before last year's anniversary, North Korea launched a multistage rocket that sailed over Japan.
The North's festivities coincided with an announcement by South Korea that it had uncovered one of the largest North Korean spy rings in years. Four South Koreans arrested included a college professor, a former journalist and two former student leaders.
Moscow Arms Talks Recessed
MOSCOW--A U.S. delegation led by Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott wrapped up two days of talks here yesterday on nuclear arms reduction and possible amendments to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, but no progress was reported.
Talbott would not comment on the results of the arms talks, while the Foreign Ministry issued a terse statement saying Moscow insists that previous arms control agreements be strictly observed.
Speaking to reporters at the airport, Talbott said that an alleged money laundering scandal involving flows of Russian money through the Bank of New York will not hurt bilateral relations.
Quake Toll Rises in Greece
ATHENS--Rescue crews pulled a woman from the wreckage of a flattened Greek factory, but hope of finding more survivors from Tuesday's earthquake in the Greek capital faded. The Health and Welfare Ministry said the number of dead had risen to 83. At least 1,600 were injured seriously enough for hospital treatment, the ministry said, while thousands more were left homeless.
Saudi Held for U.S. in Embassy Blasts
LONDON--A British magistrate ordered a Saudi man held for extradition to the United States on conspiracy charges in connection with the fatal bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa last year.
But lawyers for Khalid Fawwaz said they would appeal the ruling to London's High Court. Appeal or not, the final decision on extradition will be made by Home Secretary Jack Straw.
Venezuelan Government Standoff Ends
CARACAS, Venezuela--A standoff between Congress and the powerful constituent assembly was resolved hours after thousands of street demonstrators charged that Venezuela's democracy is in jeopardy.
In an accord mediated by the Catholic Church, the assembly agreed to reverse an order that virtually shut down Congress last month. Congress will be allowed to resume its normal activities including reconvening as a full body Oct. 2.
Burundi Defense Chief Targets Journalists
BUJUMBURA, Burundi--Burundi's defense minister told the army to consider all journalists enemies if they enter a province close to the capital where government troops are battling ethnic Hutu rebels.
Defense Minister Col. Alfred Nkurunziza singled out reporters with Radio France Internationale, a Paris-based station with a wide audience in French-speaking Africa and said journalists entering Bujumbura Rurale province would be deemed legitimate targets.
Rebels fighting the government of President Pierre Buyoya are active in the province, which rings the capital, Bujumbura, and last month launched an attack on two suburbs, killing 38 civilians.
S. African Police to Get Broader Powers CAPE TOWN--South Africa will give police sweeping new powers to search for and confiscate illegal weapons in a bid to stamp out rampant violent crime, Safety and Security Minister Steve Tshwete said.
"The draft policy recommends that we increase the powers of the police to search vehicles and buildings and to seize guns and ammunition," Tshwete told parliament. "The police must also be given wider powers to investigate, for instance by fingerprinting, everyone found in a vehicle or building where illegal firearms are found."
THE MIDDLE EAST
Turkish Troops Clash With Kurdish Rebels
ANKARA--Turkish security forces have killed 22 Kurdish separatist rebels in fighting in the southeast, the state-run Anatolian News Agency said.
The clashes took place despite a pledge by the rebel Kurdish Workers' Party to stop fighting for regional autonomy and withdraw from Turkey. The rebels have said they reserve the right to defend themselves against attacks from Turkish forces.
11 Iraqis Hurt in Airstrike, Baghdad Says BAGHDAD--Iraq said 11 people were injured when Western aircraft patrolling the "no fly" zone over the southern portion of the country attacked ground targets.
Airstrikes have been frequent this year as Baghdad's antiaircraft radar and missile sites have regularly challenged U.S. and British patrols over both northern and southern Iraq. The patrols began after the 1991 Persian Gulf War to prevent Iraqi forces from using air power against dissident populations.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"Do not go around bullying Indonesia."
Dewi Fortuna Anwar,
Indonesian presidential spokeswoman -- Page A29