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U.S. DETAINS HIJACKED CUBAN BOAT Twenty-six Cubans who tried to reach the United States on a stolen Cuban-government boat were detained at sea yesterday while the US Coast Guard awaited orders on how to deal with them. A Cuban diplomat demanded they be returned to Cuba as common criminals, saying a Cuban Navy lieutenant was killed and four other sailors were forced overboard Monday when the boat was taken from the port of Mariel. But the defectors told the Coast Guard Tuesday night that nobody was killed, and based on initial interviews, it appears the report from Cuba ``might be a mistake,'' Lt. Comdr. Steven Banks said. Bosnia airstrike warning

The UN commander in Bosnia warned yesterday that NATO warplanes could be called in unless government and Bosnian Serb forces stop trading artillery fire around Sarajevo. It was the first time the UN had issued such a direct warning to Muslim-led government forces, which have been defending Serb-besieged Sarajevo. Lt. Gen. Michael Rose accused both armies of ``serious breaches'' of a heavy-weapons exclusion zone around the capital. Spy building uncloaked

The CIA and the Pentagon are sinking $310 million into an office building for their super-secret spy satellite and eavesdropping organization. The complex, 30 miles west of Washington, is nearing completion, having soaked up funds from intelligence budgets for the past four years. Yet only last week was President Clinton informed. The House and Senate Intelligence committees planned hearings to examine the project. Justice probing Espy

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Attorney General Janet Reno asked a three-judge panel Tuesday to appoint an independent counsel to complete a Justice Department investigation of Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy's corporate contacts. His relationships with big food companies, including the Arkansas-based poultry giant, Tyson Foods Inc., are being probed. Author leaves Bangladesh

Taslima Nasreen, the Bangladeshi author with a price on her head from Muslim extremists, arrived in Stockholm yesterday after fleeing her homeland, the Swedish Foreign Ministry said. It did not say where she was staying, how she arrived, or what her ultimate destination was. A Bangladeshi newspaper reported that she apparently was headed for Norway, where authorities were considering offering her asylum. She is charged with insulting Islam. Cyclist aids Rwanda

A champion French cyclist who won the trophy for the best climber in this year's Tour de France race has auctioned off his bike and his winner's jersey to help feed starving Rwandan refugees. Richard Virenque's bike and red polka-dot jersey each fetched $28,000 at an auction in a Paris hotel Tuesday night. Mr. Virenque, who finished fifth overall in the race, donated $46,000 from his winnings to the Rwanda emergency fund last month.

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