US TROOPS ARRIVE IN MACEDONIA An advance contingent of 16 American troops arrived in Macedonia yesterday to join a United Nations peacekeeping force that hopes to prevent the spread of war to the former Yugoslav republic. The main group of about 300 soldiers is to follow in about a week on orders of President Clinton, who sent the first US ground unit to former Yugoslavia to monitor conditions in Macedonia, considered the next possible flashpoint in the Balkans. Wearing blue UN berets, the troops from the US Army's Berlin Brigade left G ermany for the flight to Skopje, the capital of Macedonia. They join a force of 700 mostly Scandinavian peacekeepers deployed along Macedonia's 260-mile border with Albania to the west and the Yugoslav republic of Serbia to the north. UN team leaves Iraq

UN weapons experts pulled out yesterday in a new standoff with President Saddam Hussein's government over its refusal to allow the installation of surveillance cameras at missile testing sites.

Baghdad says it does not oppose installing the cameras, but wants assurances that compliance with the monitoring program would lead to lifting UN sanctions imposed after Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990. UN officials suspect Saddam may have as many as 100 surface-to-surface missiles hidden; the US puts the figure as high as 200. Tempers cool in Belfast

Tensions eased on the streets of Belfast yesterday after a weekend of rioting that police called the worst civil unrest in the British-ruled province in years.

At least 17 civilians and two policemen were injured when pro-British loyalists, protesting treatment by police, rampaged in mainly Protestant neighborhoods Friday and Saturday. The rioting began after Friday's funeral of Brian McCallum, a member of the outlawed Ulster Volunteer Force, a Protestant paramilitary group. McCallum was killed June 26 when a grenade he was carrying went off prematurely. Loyalists have complained of police harassment and objected to police plans to reroute annual Protestant par ades to avoid Roman Catholic neighborhoods. Puerto Rican statehood?

Gov. Pedro Rossello on Sunday authorized a popular vote that he hopes will result in statehood for Puerto Rico, which came under US control nearly 100 years ago. The Nov. 14 vote gives Puerto Ricans the chance to say whether they want to become the 51st state of the union, remain a US commonwealth, or establish an independent country.

The vote is non-binding. But Rossello's New Progressive Party, betting voters will favor statehood, plans to use the results to convince the US Congress to admit Puerto Rico as a state. Guatemalans killed

Gunmen killed a prominent Guatemalan politician in an ambush after a meeting with ruling party allies, officials said. The killing of Jorge Carpio Nicole, a two-time presidential candidate and cousin of President Ramiro de Leon Carpio, occurred in Molino del Pesoro, about 75 miles northwest of Guatemala City. Three others died in the attack.

Guatemala has been plagued for decades by political murders, but Carpio is the most prominent figure to be killed in recent years. Newly elected President De Leon Carpio has said he would continue efforts to end the 33-year civil war. The conflict has left more than 120,000 people dead.

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