APn 03/18 1250 Eclipse Copyright, 1988. The Associated Press. All rights reserved. By YASM

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APn 03/18 1250 Eclipse Copyright, 1988. The Associated Press. All rights reserved. By YASMIN ARQUIZA Associated Press Writer GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines (AP) -- Millions of Asians prayed, pounded drums, and danced in the streets Friday to greet total eclipse of the sun that drew a curtain of darkness across land and sea. Young Filipinos shot rifles and tossed firecrackers at the blackened sky. In northern India, thousands of naked men and women jostled their way into huge, sacred pools to cleanse their souls in a massive Hindu ritual. "I am at peace today," said Ram Avtar, dripping beads of sacred water in Kurukshetra, India. The 27-year-old businessman had journeyed 450 miles to the site of the two holiest pools to fulfill his late father's final wish: a dip in sacred waters to seek salvation for his forefathers. About one million people waded or dived into Kurukshetra's holy water. The eclipse was the most spectacular along a 108-mile swath that moved from the Indian Ocean across Indonesia and the southern Philippine island of Mindanao during the morning hours. But a partial eclipse could be seen as far west as India and eastward into parts of Australia, New Guinea and the Pacific islands. Scientists said the eclipse would end at sunset in the Gulf of Alaska. Along the 108-mile path, the shadow of the moon darkened the sun for up to four minutes. Clouds obscured the view in Jakarta, Indonesia, Hong Kong and in the eastern Mindanao city of Davao, where thousands of tourists and scientists had gathered to observe the eclipse. Philippines President Corazon Aquino flew to General Davos City, where it was visible for about three minutes. Wilson Sinambela of Indonesia's National Institute of Aeronautics said a total eclipse was observed in several parts of his country. He said thousands of Indonesians prayed and beat drums to herald the start of the eclipse. In Hong Kong, hundreds of Chinese went to the space museum to view the eclipse through telescopes. But clouds prevented them from doing so. Instead, the museum showed video tapes of previous eclipses. In Baguio City, 130 miles north of Manila, pregnant women rinsed their hair with water dripped from burned rice straws. Local superstition has it that babies conceived during or shortly before an eclipse will be deformed unless their mothers practice the ritual. In Kurukshetra, amid the chanting of hymns and the blowing of conch shells, 3,000 naked Hindu holy men were the first to enter the pools at 6:30 a.m. Massive waves of men and women, some clothed, others naked, followed. The bathers pushed and shoved their way into the pools that can accommodate only about 125,000 people at a time. The eclipse lasted only half an hour. The scene was repeated, in smaller numbers, at rivers and pools across India. But Kurukshetra was the most popular because legend says the Hindu god Lord Krishna once appeared there during an ancient battle. Prasanni Devi said she came to Kurukshetra against the wishes of her children. "My children do not believe in the holy dictum," said the 68-year-old widow, who traveled 235 miles to the holy town. "Throughout my life I had wanted to come here in the company of my husband, but he left me alone to get salvation." Divers and lifeguards in boats kept watch over the bathers, but no trouble was reported. In General Santos City, the eclipse set off wild cheering among the thousands who watched the phenomenon in a scorching tropical heat. Armed troops surrounded the two-story town hall, where teams of scientists had set up telescopes and cameras. Friday was the 20th anniversary of the Moslem rebel Moro National Liberation Front which operates in this area. In Zamboanga City, in western Mindanao, hundreds of people fired weapons in keeping with a superstition that loud noise will scare the sun from devouring the moon. Police said there were no injuries. In Manila, police said four people were injured when a pass3 Executive News Svc. APn 03/18 0916 Yugoslavia-Gorbachev Copyright, 1988. The Associated Press. All rights reserved. By ALISON SMALE Associated Press Writer DUBROVNIK, Yugoslavia (AP) -- The Soviet Union today praised the practice of socialist self-management pioneered by Yugoslavia and said it should prove useful in modernizing the Soviet economic system. In a joint declaration issued as Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev ended a five-day visit to Yugoslavia, the two nations also si


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