HOSOKAWA TO RESIGN IF REFORMS FAIL Japan's embattled prime minister, playing for high stakes in his drive to end rampant political corruption, said yesterday he would not cling to power if his endangered reforms were voted down in parliament this weekend. Morihiro Hosokawa's statement ended days of speculation over what he would do if he failed to win over the hard-line opposition and rescue plans to overhaul the discredited political and electoral systems. The four-bill reform package must pass by tomorrow, when the current parliamentary session ends, or be lost. If the bills are rejected, the Japanese could find themselves at the ballot boxes for the second time in barely half a year. Mr. Hosokawa's chances of success are slim. The upper house rejected the reform bills last Friday, aided by antireformers in his ruling coalition. Justice job resignations
Deputy Attorney General Philip Heymann announced his surprise resignation yesterday, citing management-style differences with Attorney General Janet Reno. Both denied any policy differences. Ms. Reno also confirmed that top aide, Lula Rodriguez, under investigation over a vote fraud case in Miami, had resigned. Somalia fighting surges
Thirteen Somalis were killed in battles between clan gunmen 60 miles north of Mogadishu in the worst fighting in Somalia in months, a UN spokesman said yesterday. The fighting was the first since elders of the two rival clans agreed to a truce on Jan. 16. UN officers had expected Somali militias to wait for Western units in the UN force to withdraw in March before plunging back to civil war. Hong Kong tightens trade
The Hong Kong government announced tougher measures yesterday to combat illegal trade in animals, and said it was adding the American black bear to its list of protected species. The colony aimed to comply with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. Countries that violate it risk US trade sanctions. NATO partnership plan
Lithuania signed up for NATO's ``Partnership'' plan yesterday, becoming the first former Soviet republic to embrace a deal that offers cooperation to former foes while denying them full membership. Lithuania became the second former Warsaw Pact state to accept the offer. Romania signed up Wednesday. Poland and Estonia are expected to sign next week. Cairo divorce case
A Cairo civil court yesterday rejected a suit to force a divorce on a Cairo professor on grounds that he was a heretic, settling a case that was seen as a major test of the influence of fundamentalist Islam on Egypt. Fundamentalists argued that Abu Zeid could not be married to a Muslim since he was an apostate. Mr. Zeid and his wife opposed the move. A judge ruled that the plaintiffs had no direct interest in the case.