KENNEDY DEBATES CHALLENGER ROMNEY There was wide agreement that neither Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy (D) nor Republican challenger Mitt Romney scored a clear victory in their first debate Tuesday. That puts pressure on Mr. Romney to deliver a knockout blow in their second and final debate tonight, if he hopes to close the lead that Mr. Kennedy has opened in recent polls. The race had been deadlocked for weeks, but a survey sponsored by the Boston Herald and WCVB-TV/Channel 5 (Boston), released Tuesday, showed Kennedy leading Romney 50 percent to 32 percent among 447 likely voters, with a 4.6 margin of error. Speculation, in part from pundits in the press, before the first debate had built the expectation that Kennedy would be weak in the debate. But the senator with 32 years in office readily put the speculation to rest, flustering Romney at one point with pointed questions about health-care reform, defending his family's public service, and admitting his own personal failings but claiming reform. But Romney landed many heavy blows. Record earnings for Ford

Ford Motor Company's third-quarter profit swelled to $1.1 billion, more than double last year's amount and a record for the July through September period, the company said yesterday. Earnings were $1.04 per share, compared with 40 cents a share in 1993's third quarter. Ford's revenues rose to $30.6 billion, compared with $24.5 billion a year ago.

US heavy armor in Kuwait

US tanks and armored vehicles rumbled into Kuwait on flatbed trucks yesterday to reinforce US troops deployed in the emirate following heightened tension with Iraq. US officials said the M-1A1 Abrams tanks, Bradley armored vehicles, and truckloads of logistical support were due to deploy in the desert north of Kuwait City later yesterday.

Killing sparks riot

News that a white police officer had shot and killed an 18-year-old black man sparked a rampage Tuesday through the downtown streets of Lexington, Ky. As many as 500 black people overturned cars, shattered windows, and threw rocks and bottles at white people and police. Five police cars were damaged as officers in riot gear guarded courts and city buildings. Order was restored to downtown as darkness fell.

Russian skyjacking

Two hijackers armed with a grenade and a knife seized a Russian jet with 27 people aboard and demanded $2 million in ransom and safe passage to Iran, officials said yesterday. It was the latest in a string of hijackings in southern Russia, which has become a hotbed of crime and unrest since the Soviet collapse. The jet remained at the Makhachkala airport, and authorities were negotiating with the hijackers.

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