News In Brief

Albanian separatists in kosovo may be granted self-rule, but not under the supervision of NATO troops, Serbia's president said. Speaking in Paris, as the Kosovo peace conference moved closer to Friday's deadline for an agreement, Milan Milutinovic said peace-keeping troops are not needed "if the agreement is good and acceptable to the majority of people living in Kosovo."

US fighter-jet attacks on Iraq may continue from the air base at Incirlik, Turkey, that country's prime minister said. Bulent Ecevit turned down a request from visiting Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz that permission for American and British warplanes to operate from Incirlik be withdrawn. Meanwhile, Iraq said five people were killed in US raids yesterday on radar and missile sites in the northern and southern "no fly" zones.

Osama bin Laden, the suspect-ed terrorism-financier wanted by the US, was reported "missing" by Afghanistan's ruling Taliban movement. He was believed to have gone into hiding with key aides and a handful of Taliban guards after what was described as a falling out with the Taliban's senior leader. Last week, the US said it reserved the right to use additional force in pursuit of bin Laden after the Taliban rejected a formal request for his extradition.

US officials were trying to keep illegal drugs from dominating the news coverage of President Clinton's visit to Mexico, despite the fact that he must certify in two weeks whether the latter country is cooperating fully in the effort to stem trafficking. Certification was all but promised by the White House prior to Clinton's arrival, despite Mexico's disappointing record in intercepting cocaine and heroin shipments and in extraditing suspected traffickers. A failing grade would trigger tough economic sanctions.

The former military ruler of Nigeria won his party's presidential nomination for the Feb. 27 election. Retired Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo of the Peoples Democratic Party becomes the immediate front-runner to head the country's first elected government in 15 years, analysts said. Obasanjo is the only one of Nigeria's ruling generals ever to turn the country over to an elected civilian government.

Voters on Greenland, the world's largest island, go to the polls today for parliamentary elections aimed at carving out greater self-determination. The North Atlantic territory was granted a measure of home rule by Denmark in 1979, but it is seeking additional control over its own affairs, among them potentially lucrative oil, natural gas, and precious-metal deposits that are already being explored by international consortiums.

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