Daily Briefing


-- Army helicopters and a ragtag armada of ships rescued more than 900 Vietnamese fishermen feared lost at sea in a devastating typhoon, a government relief agency said.

Another 83 were found in neighboring Cambodia, but hundreds more were still missing. The death toll rose past 330.

-- An American embassy official suspected by Austrian police of being involved in tapping the telephone of a North Korean official in Vienna has been sent home, the State Department said. The official was not identified.

-- German federal judges refused today to rule on whether the Church of Scientology is a religion, ordering a lower court to focus on whether the group is a nonprofit venture or a money-making business. The Baden-Wuerttemberg case already has been bounced several times from court to court - reflecting the sensitive nature of Scientology's position here.


-- It's official: Germans in the hops-loving state of Bavaria drink more beer than milk. An average four-person Bavarian family drinks 4 gallons of beer every month, about a pint more than the milk they use, the Bavarian Statistics Yearbook said yesterday.


Bosnia is issuing a special commemorative stamp in honor of Princess Diana, who went there on a humanitarian visit just three weeks before her death. The stamp, designed by Bosnian artist Nedzad Cmajcanin, shows a smiling Diana in a white shirt, with her sunglasses resting in her hair.

"It is logical that we honor the princess' visit to Bosnia, because it was her last official humanitarian mission," said Emir Hrenovica of the state postal company.

Today in history

-- In 1632, Sweden's King Gustavus II was killed during the Battle of Lutzen in the Thirty Years' War.

-- In 1661, King Charles II of Spain was born. He had no heirs, and his death led to the War of Spanish Succession.

-- In 1814, Adolphe Sax, a wind-instrument maker who invented the saxophone, was born.

-- In 1911, after leading the revolution against dictator Porfirio Diaz, Francisco Madero assumed the office of president of Mexico.


And this little piggy went to . . . Vietnam? A jumbo jet with 665 breeding pigs on board will fly into Vietnam from Britain tomorrow on a mission to go forth and multiply.

The British embassy and the Pig Improvement Company Vietnam said in a joint statement the 600 females and 65 males would be transported to the U.K.-based company's farm in Ninh Binh province, 72 miles south of Hanoi.

It will invest $2.2 million to breed swine and sell breeding stock to Vietnamese farmers.