ASIA

China Further Restricts Falun Gong

BEIJING--China has issued new restrictions on exercises on which the Falun Gong movement is partly based, underscoring the government's lingering nervousness about the banned sect.

Under the restrictions, published yesterday in the Health Ministry's official newspaper, the widely practiced slow-motion exercises called qigong may not be performed in government or military institutions, embassies, airports, train or bus stations, ports, streets or other "important public places."

EUROPE

Milosevic Opposition Campaign Flags

BELGRADE--Yugoslav opposition leader Zoran Djindjic said he and other activists will give up their campaign to oust President Slobodan Milosevic unless more people take to the streets over the next few weeks.

He spoke on the eve of the third consecutive day of a new wave of street protests organized by the Alliance for Change opposition grouping, of which his party is the biggest member. The turnout so far has fallen well below expectations.

Yugoslav Army Stages Drills Near Kosovo BELGRADE--The Yugoslav army staged a tactical exercise of armored and special forces near Kosovo, and a top general said Belgrade would not recognize the formation of an ethnic Albanian Kosovo Protection Corps.

Serbian state television read a brief report saying the Yugoslav government had asked the U.N. Security Council to scrap a decision that "transforms the separatist Kosovo Liberation Army into a Kosovo protection force."

Pigeons Lead to Blackmailer's Downfall

FRANKFURT--A man who tried to blackmail a German unit of Swiss food giant Nestle by lacing some of its mustard, mayonnaise and sauce products with poison was sent to jail after homing pigeons led to his capture.

Alexander Nemeth, 43, admitted that he had demanded $14 million worth of diamonds, which were to be placed in small pouches hung around the necks of pigeons trained to find their way to a rented apartment.

The police found Nemeth after two years of investigation when a pigeon called "Charly" led them to his home. A Frankfurt court found him guilty of three counts of extortion and six counts of poisoning food. It sentenced him to 11 years in jail.

Mitchell Optimistic on N. Ireland Peace

BELFAST--U.S. mediator George Mitchell, in his first public comments since returning to Northern Ireland three weeks ago to try to break a deadlock in the peace process, said said he is still confident of success.

"I believe very strongly that it is possible . . . although at the same time I recognize the difficulties involved and I understand the grounds for pessimism," Mitchell told reporters.

The former U.S. senator chaired nearly two years of laborious talks between nationalist Roman Catholic and pro-British Protestant politicians, achieving an agreement in April 1998.

THE AMERICAS

Argentina Vows to Silence Oviedo

BUENOS AIRES--Argentina will banish exiled Paraguayan coup leader Lino Oviedo to a remote part of the country, far from Buenos Aires, for violating the terms of his asylum by making political comments, an official said.

The cashiered general was the strongman behind disgraced President Raul Cubas. They fled Paraguay in March after being accused of plotting the murder of Vice President Luis Maria Argana, their political rival. Argana was gunned down in Asuncion on March 23.

Gert Heads to Sea After Sinking Boats

ST. JOHN'S, Newfoundland--Hurricane Gert weakened to a tropical storm but was still blamed for sinking at least five boats on the Canadian coast of Newfoundland and bringing rain to the eastern parts of New England as it headed out to sea.

MIDDLE EAST

Clashes on Lebanese-Israeli Border

BEIRUT--Guerrillas fired rockets and mortars at outposts in Israeli-occupied southern Lebanon, and the Lebanese government condemned Israel for an air raid that killed a Lebanese soldier and wounded six others.

The Lebanese Resistance Brigades, a guerrilla group backed by the main anti-Israeli Hezbollah faction, reported "confirmed hits" on five outposts manned by Israeli forces and allied Lebanese militiamen along the edge of the occupied zone. Lebanese security officials, who monitor combat in southern Lebanon, reported clashes during the night. They said there were no immediate reports of casualties.

Kurds Seek Talks With Turkey

ISTANBUL--Kurdish guerrillas said they will send a group to seek a peaceful solution to their conflict with the Turkish state, in line with a call by rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan.

Ocalan, under a death sentence in a Turkish jail, called Wednesday for a group of rebels to surrender with their weapons to Turkish authorities to show their commitment to peace after 15 years of conflict in which more than 30,000 people have died.

AFRICA

Angolan Military Gains on Rebel Forces

LUANDA, Angola--Angola's armed forces are battling to turn the tide in nine months of fresh conflict with UNITA rebels and have had some success in recent days after two failed offensives, military analysts said.

UNITA said in a statement last week that the government had launched an attack on its positions on Sept. 14, a third major offensive after campaigns in December and March. Independent Angolan radio has reported fighting throughout the country's central region in recent days, around the major government held cities of Malanje, Kuito and Huambo, which UNITA has besieged since early January.

FOR THE RECORD

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah was officially installed as Malaysia's new constitutional monarch in a glittering ceremony aired on national television.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"Where are all the mass graves?"

-- Brig. David Richards,

of the East Timor peacekeeping force--Page A26