News from Around the World

 ISRAEL: IDF EXPANDING MILITARY FORCES -- The IDF's new multi-year working plan calls for increased readiness for war and focusing efforts on stockpiling, training, and expanding military forces while cutting back on mandatory reserve-service periods and low quality career personnel. Deputy Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Uzi Dayan said that there was an era of uncertainty lurking on the horizon. He explained that in today's world, emergency and even war situations could develop in hours, even minutes, and that the IDF had to be prepared for this reality. While he did not refer to the possible declaration of Palestinian independence in May, he did say that the IDF was preparing for "any and all possibilities." Dayan refused to elaborate on whether the IDF assessed that Israel was moving toward war or serious conflict. (Source: Jerusalem Post - Feb 2, 1999)

 SOUTHERN RUSSIA HIT BY EARTHQUAKE -- An earthquake with magnitude 3.5 rocked southern Russia, about 1,000 miles south of Moscow, early Tuesday, destroying about 80 homes and damaging hundreds more, AP reported. This followed a quake of magnitude 4.5 that hit the region last week. (Source: Yahoo! - Feb 2, 1999)

 MILLENIUM BUG MAY HIT EUROPE GAS SUPPLIES -- The Director of the American CIA, George Tenet, has warned that Europe may face serious gas supply disruptions, if its largest supplier, Russia's Gazprom, does not deal with the Millennium Bug. The CIA director said Russia and Eastern Europe are among the least prepared in addressing the problem. Senior Russian officials have repeatedly warned that the country needs up to $3 billion to fix bug. (Source: BBC - Feb 2, 1999)

 METEOR SIGHTED IN WESTERN SKY -- A small meteor streaked across the Western sky this morning, startling people from San Francisco to Las Vegas, more than 400 miles away. "It was bright and blue and really fantastic," one caller told a San Francisco radio station. People reported seeing it for about five seconds around 6 a.m. The object was probably a fireball, or "bolide," according the Chabot Observatory and Science Center in Oakland. (Source: (AP) - Feb 2, 1999)