News From Around the World


 Y2K Glitch to Hurt Medicare Savings -- Senior citizens will miss out on as much as $570 million in savings on their Medicare co-payments because of delays while government fixes a glitch that threatens to shut down computers on Jan. 1,2000. (New York Times)

 Price On U.S. Heads? Terrorists in Afghanistan are offering bounties of "thousands of dollars" to extremists worldwide to kill Americans in retaliation for recent U.S. missile strikes, said the FBI (Washington Times)

 VIETNAM -- First Hailstorm in memory sparks rumors that doomsday is near. The first hailstorm in memory causes serious damage in a southern Vietnamese village and sparked rumors that it was a harbinger of doomsday. (AP)

 Netanyahu Reiterates: No Deal with PA without War on Terrorism -- Yesterday, following the terror attack in Tel-Aviv, Prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu stated there would not be any deal reached with PLO authority (PA) without Yassir Arafat and the PA fighting terrorism, "both in words and in deeds" whatever it may be, "whether in Chevron or Tel-Aviv".

 U.S. Alert in SOUTH KOREA -- The United States embassy in South Korea has warned Americans in the country to be on extra alert after it received what is described as unconfirmed information about a possible terrorist attack aimed at Americans. Security has been increased at the embassy and at US military installations in South Korea. (BBC)

 HONG KONG Falls Full-blown Recession -- Yesterday, Malaysia Today? Hong Kong has fallen into full-blown recession. With once a booming economy, is now down five percent in the second quarter. Hong Kong now joins other Asian neighbors also in recession, including Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, and Indonesia. (Nando Times)

 Solar Winds Hit EARTH's Magnetic Field at One Million mph -- Solar winds blowing at more than a million miles per hour hit the Earth's magnetic field on Wednesday, sparking what US. Government scientists say could be a significant geomagnetic storm, Reuters reported. The US Geological Survey said charged particles from a Solar eruption hit the earth magnetic field around 3 a.m. EDT and the resulting fluctuations in the field could cause power outages, satellite failures, disruption in communications and the aurora borealis. (Nando Times)

 PACIFIC STATES VULNERABLE TO WAVES -- America's Pacific states are vulnerable to great sea waves like the one that devastated coastal northwestern New Guinea, and the threat may be growing in the Pacific Northwest. Some 2000 people died July 17 when a giant wave estimated at 23 feet high slammed ashore in northwestern New Guinea. Thousands were injured and made homeless by the wave, known as a tsunami. Since the New Guinea event people have asked repeatedly if it could happen here, Oregon State geologist Don Hull said Tuesday. "The answer is yes." (Randolphe E. Schmid, Associated Press Writer)

 SAUDI ARABIA -- Scorching heat has caused severe water shortages in the western Saudi Arabian cities of Jiddah and Mecca, where water service has been limited to two hours a day, AP reported. The shortages are expected to ease soon, the Arabic-language Okaz paper reported today. Problems began about a month ago, when the demand for water rose with the temperatures, which have been hovering at about 104 degrees with humidity at 75 percent. In the past week, the 5 million residents of the Red Sea port city of Jiddah and the holy city of Mecca have had to make do with a couple hours of water service a day. The Al-Bilad newspaper reported that the price of drinking water had risen from 25 cents a ton to $160 a ton and that families have to wait several days to get it. Saudi Arabia relies solely on desalinization plants for its water supply. There are 23 plants processing water from the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. (Fox News)

 The Head of RUSSIA's Federal Security Service (FSB), one of the successor bodies to the Soviet-era KGB, on Tuesday ruled out the use of force to resolve Russia's deepening economic and political crisis. Asked about deploying force, Vladimir Putin, said in televised comments: "Neither the president, nor the acting prime minister, nor the Duma (lower house of parliament)...nobody is expecting or preparing such methods to resolve the country's problems, nobody.'' An announcer on NTV commercial television said rumors had been floating in the Duma that Yeltsin might resort to the army or the security organs in his battle with parliament over the choice of prime minister and the country's economic course. (Fox News)

 Conflict Between President Boris Yeltsin and the Communist-led Parliament could lead to a constitutional crisis and possible "civil war. After yesterday's Duma council meeting it has become clear -- the country has reached the stage where there is a threat of civil war. The Duma, headed by Gennady Zyuganov, is ready to start it. The Duma overwhelmingly rejected Victor Chernomyrdin on Monday and Zyuganov said it would do so a second time in a vote due next Monday and would do so a third time, too, if Yeltsin renominated the man who was previously premier for five years. Yeltsin has already noted that that would leave him no choice but to dissolve the Duma. If that happened the Communists had broad support to go ahead with impeachment proceedings against the president, creating a constitutional crisis, since the constitution also forbids the dissolution of the Duma by a president who is under investigation for possible impeachment, the paper said. (Russia Today)

ISRAEL -- A joint committee to handle the preparations for the year 2000 was established yesterday at a meeting between officials of the ministries of Tourism, Foreign Affairs and Religious Affairs, the chairman of Israel 2000, Shlomo Ilya, and senior officials of the Catholic Church. The committee, which will include members from the Ministry of Tourism, Israel 2000 and the Catholic Church, is the result of ongoing efforts to increase cooperation and dialogue between the government and officials from Christian churches, in advance of the expected arrival of large numbers of pilgrims to Israel in 2000. At the meeting, Tourism Ministry Director-General Shabtai Shai reviewed the ministry's preparations, infrastructure development and marketing plans, and Mr. Ilya outlined Israel 2000's activities. Apostolic Delegate Archbishop Pietro Sambi said that the Catholic Church has established a special committee, comprised of delegates from all Catholic orders, to handle preparations. The committee will be headed by Reyereno Father Robert Fortin of St. Peter in Galicantu Church, who will also be the Vatican's representative on the joint committee. It was also agreed to hold working meetings next week to discuss planning and staging of events by the Catholic Church, Church preparations for receiving pilgrims and other issues. (Israel Wire)