SEOUL - All-out strikes called by South Korea`s largest umbrella union group had only a token impact on Tuesday, with buses and commuter trains running normally, witnesses said. The Federation of Korean Trade Unions, with 1.2 million members, ordered two-day nationwide stoppages to protest against a controversial labour law rammed through parliament on Dec. 26 allowing companies to lay off workers.
BELGRADE - Some 400,000 people jammed central Belgrade for an Or-thodox New Year`s Eve demonstration that was the biggest yet mounted against Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic.
MOSCOW - Boris Yeltsin is in stable condition five days after entering the elite Central Clinical Hospital for treatment of pneumonia, his press secretary Sergei Yastrzhembsky told reporters. He said doctors examining Yeltsin found his temperature and other indicators "in the normal range" but gave no indication when he would be released. A convalescence period of two to three weeks is expected.
HONG KONG - China`s ailing patriach Deng Xiaoping is in relatively stable health and his children were confident enough to leave him at home to enjoy the sun on a remote tropical island, a Hong Kong newspaper said.
NICOSIA - A U.S. envoy on a peace mission to Cyprus said the two rival sides on the militarily divided island had agreed to United Nations proposals to reduce tension along a ceasefire line separating them.
UNITED NATIONS - Two letter bombs were found at U.N. headquarters, addressed to the U.N. bureau of the Arabic-language newspaper Al-Hayat. Both were disarmed, a U.N. spokesman said.
LIMA - Three bursts of gunfire shattered the calm around the Japanese ambassador`s residence in Lima where heavily armed Marxist rebels were holding 74 hostages for the 27th day. Witnesses and policemen said they believed the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement rebels used assault rifles to fire into the air from within the residence after spotting what appeared to be a police helicopter hovering overhead.
TOKYO - Japan stocks fell sharply on Tuesday, resuming their downward spiral on economic jitters after Monday`s rebound. The renewed gloom pushed the market`s key index down more than 300 points in the first 15 minutes of trade. Brokers said the market was still wary about the future course of the economy.
WASHINGTON - President Bill Clinton`s lawyer argued before the Supreme Court that a sexual harassment lawsuit by Paula Jones, who worked for Arkansas state when Clinton was governor, should be put on hold until he leaves office because it would distract him from his presidential duties.
LONDON - Britain`s Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip are planning to hold a golden wedding party inviting 4,000 other couples who also married in 1947.
JERUSALEM - Israeli and Palestinian negotiators held late-night talks on Israeli redeployment from the West Bank town of Hebron after a bomb scare disrupted a meeting on what looked like the last draft of the accord. Israeli Defence Minister Yitzhak Mordechai predicted an agreement would be signed on Tuesday.
ZURICH - The Swiss National Bank ackowledged that it had sent around 70 shipments of Nazi gold to Spain and Portugal during World War Two, but defended the transfers as routine commercial payments.
TOKYO - The dollar remained steady by midday with no major impact from further tumbles in Tokyo share prices. At 0445 GMT, the dollar was at 116.46 yen and 1.5890 marks.
LONDON - Amnesty International (AI) questioned the fairness of the first genocide trials in Rwanda, saying they prompted fears that many people would be unjustly executed. AI said the crimes committed during the genocide in 1994 shocked the world and devastated the lives of millions and it recognised the difficulty the government faced in conducting the trials.