News In Brief

The remains of as many as 91 ethnic Albanians may be in mass graves that were being cordoned off by NATO forces at a village in southern Kosovo, residents said. The villagers accused Serb troops of massacring the victims April 8-9. The grave sites - the first to be discovered by incoming NATO units - were to be guarded by US airborne troops until war-crimes tribunal investigators arrived. Three journalists - two of them German - also were found dead.

A NATO spokesman played down the presence of Russian troops on Kosovo's main airport, saying the facility "is not needed at this stage" and that its status would be discussed between field commanders from the respective sides.

Stinging defeats for the Labour Party government of British Prime Minister Tony Blair and for the Social Democrat-Green Party coalition of German Chancellor Gerhard Schrder were two of the most notable results of last weekend's European Parliament elections. Amid record-low turnout at the polls, Blair's government lost control of the British delegation to the opposition Conservative Party - although the prime minister insisted he still favored joining the European Union's single-currency system. In Germany, the rival Christian Democrats won 52 of the nation's 99 seats and Schrder summoned his party's leaders for an emergency meeting to discuss the implications.

The European election, coupled with last week's tainted-meat scare, also cost Belgian Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene his job. He submitted his resignation and was considering leaving politics. His coalition lost its majority in parliament, although it appeared no two rival parties had won enough seats to form a new government.

Despite mounting casualties on both sides, Indian forces were fighting bunker-to-bunker for strategic high ground in Kashmir. India put the number of its troops killed in the month-long combat at 103, with 242 others wounded. Islamic guerrillas, whom India claims have Pakistan's support, were said to have lost 267. Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee described a Sunday phone call from his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, as offering no new ideas for ending the conflict.

With no opposition, Thabo Mbeki was elected to succeed the retiring Nelson Mandela as South Africa's president by new members of parliament. Mbeki, who has been Mandela's deputy since 1994, is to be sworn in tomorrow before a gathering of world leaders in Pretoria.

If the findings of a new survey are accurate, only one-quarter of Jewish settlers would willingly leave their homes in the West Bank and Gaza even after a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians - and an offer of "reasonable" financial compensation by the government of Prime Minister-elect Ehud Barak. Fifty-five percent of respondents would refuse to move inside Israel; 19 percent were undecided. Palestinians demand the dismantling of all settlements - which hold an estimated 170,000 Jews - in return for a peace deal.

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