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Ontario students study at home

Ontario students cruised shopping malls, studied at home and in some cases accompanied their parents to work Tuesday, the second day of a teachers strike that has stopped classes for 2.1-million children.

The provincial government is preparing to seek a court injunction that could order the 126,000 teachers back to work next week.

In the meantime, shopping malls and game arcades were more crowded than usual, and movie theaters added matinee showings. Sales at music and clothing stores surged.

For students still interested in learning, a variety of options surfaced.

Mitel Corp., a high-tech firm outside Ottawa, offered classes for 65 high school-age children of its employees. Company workers volunteered to teach biology, calculus and French.

A Toronto-area firm, MGI Software, has kept some of its employees' children busy by assigning them to test new software. McMillan Binch, one of Toronto's most prestigious law firms, opened a day care center at its headquarters.

Studying at home is another option. Some parents are hiring tutors, and the Education Ministry reported a heavy volume of users calling an Internet site to obtain homework assignments.

Israel religious dispute put off

JERUSALEM _ The Reform and Conservative movements of Judaism gave Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a three-month reprieve Tuesday in his dispute with American Jewry over which rabbis have the authority to convert people.

Leaders of the two movements said Monday they would go back to Israel's highest court on the issue, but they reversed themselves Tuesday to allow time for a compromise with Israel's Orthodox establishment.

"I am as relieved (today) as I was perplexed yesterday because I think this is a very important process. I hope and I believe it can come to a fruitful conclusion," Netanyahu said.

The chief rabbis in Israel, adhering more strictly to religious traditions than the liberal movements, have absolute control over conversions, according to understandings in effect since Israel was established in 1948. Orthodox legislators have sought legislation to entrench their powers, which the liberal congregations are challenging.

Elsewhere . . .

+ LUSAKA, Zambia _ A coup attempt inspired by what a rebel soldier said was a vision of an angel was quickly put down Tuesday. Fifteen rebellious soldiers and officers were arrested, and one rebel was killed in a shootout at the government broadcast center.

+ LONDON _ Prince Charles and his 13-year-old son Prince Harry flew to South Africa on Tuesday night for an official visit, a safari and a meeting with the Spice Girls. It was their first trip since the Aug. 31 death of Harry's mother, Princess Diana, in a Paris car crash. Harry's brother, Prince William, 15, was unable to go because his school break will end too soon.