KOREA OFFERS PHOTO OF LEADER North Korea released a picture of its mysterious new leader Kim Jong Il yesterday in an apparent attempt to fend off rumors of internal power struggles. Kim has been conspicuously absent from public life since the July 20 funeral of his father, Kim Il Sung. Speculation over his grip on power deepened Sunday when he failed to make North Korea's traditional New Year's Day address. A black-and-white picture, released through the Tokyo-based Korea News Service, shows Kim bundled up in a winter coat and fur hat and smiling as he receives a bouquet of flowers from a soldier. Fighting in SomaliaSkip to next paragraph
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Rival Somali militiamen yesterday battled for a key district of Mogadishu for a third straight day to win access to the seaport before UN troops withdraw. UN forces are expected to abandon their fortified headquarters compound in Mogadishu in January and pull back to the seaport and airport, the two last staging posts before they leave.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Foreign Ministry in Lagos announced the death of former Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre, who thrived on cold-war rivalries but left his nation in anarchy and on the brink of famine.
Brazil's new beginning
Fernando Henrique Cardoso, a hugely popular former finance minister credited with taming raging inflation, took office Sunday as Brazil's 37th president. Indian textile pact
India has signed trade agreements with the United States and the European Union that will open their markets to more Indian textiles, newspapers reported Monday. The deals, signed Saturday in Washington and Brussels, came after talks with the US and the EU, which absorb more than two-thirds of India's annual textile exports. The agreements significantly increase or remove import quotas for Indian textiles. Bangladesh strike
Opposition legislators who resigned from Parliament in a dispute with the prime minister organized a strike that paralyzed Bangladesh's capital yesterday. Hundreds of opposition activists marched through the streets shouting ``Down with Khaleda Zia!'' during the eight-hour general strike that closed businesses across Dhaka, a city of 8 million people.
Oil rig tilts in gale
A drilling rig in the North Sea oil field began listing in a gale Sunday night and 16 workers not essential to its safety were taken off by helicopter and flown to a nearby platform.
Shell, which operates the rig under contract from the Santa Fe Drilling company, said the airlift of the 16 was purely a precaution and the rig was in no danger of capsizing.