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News In Brief

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Conditions worsened in Albania's capital as mourners tried to carry the coffins of a murdered opposition leader and his two bodyguards to the office of Prime Minister Fatos Nano. Guards inside fired on the group, wounding at least three people and setting off a riot. Police stood by as protesters seized government tanks and the state TV station. Nano's opponents accuse him of ordering the death late Saturday of Azem Hajdari, a popular rival who helped end four decades of Communist rule.

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A new surge in political violence followed the announcement by Algeria's president that he would cut short his term and call a national election before March. Security sources blamed fundamentalist Muslim groups for the deaths of 41 people in the first 72 hours after Liamine Zeroual decided to end speculation that he would not serve the full five years of his term. He has been unable to quell the fundamentalist insurgency that erupted in 1992 and reportedly has lost the confidence of senior military commanders.

An economic summit of southern African leaders was expected to press Congo President Laurent Kabila to change course and meet with rebel leaders trying to topple him. But as Kabila arrived for the meeting in Mauritius, a new campaign began to oust the rebels from their headquarters in the eastern city of Goma.

An important victory for German Chancellor Kohl's party last weekend in a key southern state was mostly due to "local issues," his challenger in the Sept. 27 national election said. But Kohl disputed Social Democrat Gerhard Schrder's claim, saying the outcome in affluent Bavaria filled him with "fighting spirit." Kohl's Christian Democrats easily defeated the Social Democrats there, although the chancellor still trails Schrder in most public-opinion polls.

Saying his government's anticrime campaign depends on the freedom to speed up the executions of convicted murderers, Trinidad and Tobago's prime minister announced he'd file legislation Monday to rewrite the Constitution. Basdeo Panday withdrew the nation from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in July, accusing it of foot-dragging on hearing the appeals of death-row inmates. Trinidad and Tobago courts are holding up the executions of an unknown number of convicts - mostly in drug-trafficking cases - because of complaints that prison conditions are "cruel and inhumane."

Etceteras

"What I did is for the people of Chicago, for America, for my mother, my wife, my kids, and the people I have around me - my team." - Cubs star Sammy Sosa, on becoming the second player to break baseball's single-season home-run record.

Way up in Arctic Norway, where winter isn't far off and there hasn't been much excitement since back in March when 23,000 troops took part in a NATO exercise called Strong Resolve, a local civilian decided it was time to stir things up. According to reports, he dressed in a sergeant's uniform, sneaked onto the Setermoen Army base in the wee hours of the morning, helped himself to an idle vehicle, and went for a joy ride. But not just any idle vehicle. He chose a 40-foot-long, armor-plated rocket launcher capable of firing 12 rounds 25 miles each. Fortunately, at least it wasn't loaded. Showing - well - strong resolve, police blocked the highway to southern Norway, ordered local residents to stay indoors, and arrested the fellow a few hours later.

Meanwhile, police in Orlando, Fla., are working on a series of burglaries so big that you could call them "Titanic." In fact, that's exactly what was stolen: 240 just-released cassette copies of the hit film from a warehouse and dozens more from video stores. Since many of them turned up for sale at a flea market, distributors have a sinking feeling that someone is trying to cut into their profits.

The Day's List

Atlanta Gobbles Way to Top of Urban-Sprawl List

In a recent Sierra Club survey of major US cities, Atlanta emerged as No. 1 in its consumption of green space - destroying 500 acres weekly. The environmental group says uncontrolled suburban growth translates into lost farmland, traffic jams, and rising costs of public services. Among sprawling urban areas of at least 1 million residents, the Sierra Club top 10 includes:

1. Atlanta

2. St. Louis

3. Washington

4. Cincinnati

5. Kansas City

6. Denver

7. Seattle

8. Minneapolis-St.Paul

9. Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

10. Chicago

- Reuters