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News In Brief

(Page 2 of 2)



Communist North Korea call-ed high-ranking defector Hwang Jang Yop a "mentally deranged" traitor and warned of war against rival South Korea if he is used for propaganda purposes. The Pyongyang government's remarks were its first public reaction to Hwang's arrival in South Korea. The South is expected to question him intensively for details of North Korea's military and economic secrets.

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NASA officials said they were unaware of any plans to abandon the Russian space station Mir because of leaking anti-freeze. But in Moscow, news agencies reported that the last in a series of leaks has defied attempts by the Russian-American crew to fix it and that fumes had reached the maximum acceptable concentration for humans. Mir, now in its 11th year of service, was designed to last only five years.

Algerian forces clamped a tight guard around a village where attackers killed 93 people - almost half of them women and girls. Another 25 villagers were hurt. It was believed to be the worst single incident of violence in an antigovernment campaign that has taken at least 60,000 lives since 1992. Analysts in Algiers, the capital, said the frequency and savagery of the attacks appears to have increased since national elections were announced for June 5.

Britain's ruling Conservative Party sought new campaign momentum from a poll that showed it closing the popularity gap against the rival Labour Party. The survey said Labour's once-huge lead had shrunk to five percentage points - its smallest since November 1993 - with the election eight days away. Labour leaders dismissed the poll as one of many.

The command ship for the multinational protection force in Albania was freed and inspected for damage after running aground off the port of Vlora. Stormy seas had pushed the Italian cruiser/helicopter carrier Vittorio Veneto onto a sandbar. No injuries were reported.

The Manitoba government ordered the evacuation of the entire population of the Red River valley as northward-flowing flood waters closed in on Canada. Some 17,000 people live in the area. Manitoba communities along the river are protected by dikes, but officials worried that lakes spawned by the river would cut off all access. A 1950 flood in southern Manitoba caused a lake of 700 square miles.

Five faction leaders from southern Sudan signed a peace agreement with the government in Khartoum and urged the region's main rebel chief, John Garang, to do the same. But Gar-ang, who commands the Sudan People's Liberation Army, said the military regime merely had made a deal "with itself." His forces have done most of the fighting since civil war broke out in 1983. President Omar el-Bashir celebrated the treaty at a rally in the capital and pledged that his government would "rebuild" the impoverished south.

Etceteras

"We have given an example to the international community,

which should not allow terrorist blackmail."

- President Alberto Fujimori of Peru, after his forces abruptly ended the country's four-month hostage crisis .

Since this is National Coin Week, it only made - uh - cents to some Texans to promote their hobby by putting valuable pieces of change back into circulation. Members of the Fort Worth Coin Club gave up 2,500 of them from their personal collections. The prize: a 1914-D penny, now worth $85.

Slightly heavier metal is back in circulation in Smith County, Texas. Under a surplus equipment program, the federal government turn-ed over two 13-ton armored personnel carriers from the 1991 Gulf war to the sheriff's department - minus the mortar launchers they originally carried.

The Day's List

Competitors Named For Cannes Film Festival

The competition phase of the glittering festival, in its 50th year, will feature the following titles and stars:

"The Ice Storm" Ang Lee Taiwan

"Il Principe di Hombourg" Marco Bellochio Italy

"The Fifth Element" Luc Besson France

"Call it Love" Nick Cassavetes US

"The Brave," Johnny Depp US

"The Sweet Hereafter" Atom Egoyan Canada

"Funny Games" Michael Haneke Austria

L.A. Confidential" Curtis Hanson US

"La Femme Dfendue" Philippe Harel France

"Unagi" Shohei Imamura Japan

"Assassins" Matthieu Kassovitz France

"The Well" Samantha Lang Australia

"Nil by Mouth" Gary Oldman Britain

"Kini et Adams," Idriss Oudraogo Burkina Faso

"Western" Manuel Poirier France

"La Tregua" Francesco Rosi Italy

"Happy Together" Wong Kar-Wai Hong Kong

"The End of Violence" Wim Wenders Germany

"Welcome to Sarajevo" Michael Winterbottom Britain

"Keep Cool" Zhang Yimou China

- Associated Press