US SOLDIERS KILLED IN SOMALIA AMBUSH Four American soldiers were killed yesterday when Somali gunmen ambushed their vehicle after it hit a land mine in southern Mogadishu, a United Nations military spokeswoman said. Three Americans were killed immediately, and a fourth died at an American hospital. There was no word on the number of wounded. They were the first US servicemen killed since the UN assumed control of the United States-led operation on May 4. A UN spokesman said the battle erupted yesterday morning when gunmen opened fire on the US

vehicle after it hit a land mine near a market south of UN headquarters. Izetbegovic petitions UN

Bosnian President Alija Izetbegozic called Saturday for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to confirm the primacy of principles laid down at last year's London conference on the former Yugoslavia.

His concerns referred particularly to Sarajevo, he said, and he enclosed draft proposals concerning the future of the capital in a letter to the Council. These include a call for the area containing state and governmental institutions to have the legal status of a district under the direct control of the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina, comparable to the District of Columbia in the US. Vacant judgeships filled

President Clinton moved Saturday to fill the first of dozens of federal judgeships left vacant when the Bush administration left power, saying his nominees would help "change the face" of the federal judiciary. Clinton announced three nominations for the US Court of Appeals and 10 nominees for US district courts.

The Bush administration left behind 99 vacant seats on the federal bench, and dozens more opened up in the early months of the Clinton administration, offering the president an opportunity to reshape a generally conservative federal judiciary. Shiite kidnapper deported

Lebanese kidnapper Abbas Hamadi, who was deported by Germany Friday after serving half of a 13-year prison sentence, attended a rally Sunday for the pro-Iranian Hizbullah (Party of God) in Beirut. The rally was called to commemorate the deaths of 15 guerrillas during Israel's blitz of south Lebanon last month.

Mr. Hamadi, a Shiite Muslim, was jailed in Frankfurt in 1988 for kidnapping two German businessmen in Beirut in 1987 in an attempt to win freedom for his younger brother, Mohammad Ali Hamadi, who is serving a life sentence in Germany for kidnapping and murder. The two businessmen were later released unharmed. Torrential rains hit Japan

The death toll rose to 45 yesterday from floods and landslides set off by torrential rains, and a new typhoon was approaching the stricken area in southwestern Japan. Four people still were missing as more than 2,000 rescue workers, including 1,225 soldiers, continued relief operations in Kagoshima, 600 miles southwest of Tokyo, said a police official. More than 5,500 houses were flooded and there were at least 200 landslides in the prefecture. South China battles floods

Floods in the southern Chinese province of Hunan have stranded 527,000 people and destroyed 163,000 homes, the Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday. It said the floods, following torrential rain at the end of July in the Lishui and Yuanjiang rivers, also damaged 19-million acres of farmland. The provincial government has allocated $25.4 million in relief funds and loans and sent 14,000 tons of fertilizer and 11,000 tons of diesel fuel to flood-stricken areas. Babangida delays meeting

A political crisis over who will govern Nigeria continued Saturday when President Babangida delayed a key meeting. The president put off a session of his military government's highest council, apparently to thrash out agreement with senior generals on his next move in Nigeria's political turmoil.

The National Defense and Security Council's last session ended in July with Babangida unexpectedly declaring that a hasty new election was the ony course after his annulment of a presidential vote in June. A week ago, he reverted to an alternative and installed an unelected stop-gap administration to run the country after Aug. 27.

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