News In Brief

Angry NATO commanders said they were holding Yugoslav President Milosevic accountable for the safety of three US soldiers captured by Serb forces. The men were shown on TV yesterday with obvious facial wounds, suggesting they'd been beaten. NATO also cast doubt on the surprise meeting in Belgrade between Milosevic and ethnic-Albanian Kosovo separatist leader Ibrahim Rugova, suggesting that the latter may have appeared under duress.

Saying, "every day brings new casualties and tragedies," Russian President Yeltsin called for an emergency meeting on the Kosovo crisis by foreign ministers of the Group of Eight industrial powers. But a favorable response appeared unlikely. Meanwhile, senior Russian military leaders were considering additional responses to the NATO attacks on Yugoslav targets besides the sending of a warship to the Mediterranean Sea.

The possibility that Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji might not make his scheduled trip to Washington next week was raised by veteran US-watchers in Beijing. They said Zhu and other senior leaders were reconsidering the visit because of opposition to NATO bombing in Yugoslavia and ongoing doubts that China will win early admission to the World Trade Organization. Reached for comment, a US embassy official said, "As far as we're concerned, the trip is still on."

April 13 was set as the date for resumption of meetings to decide the makeup of a self-rule administration for Northern Ireland. The move came after four days of talks - joined in progress by British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his Irish Republic counterpart, Bertie Ahern - failed to achieve a breakthrough. Britain, which is waiting to transfer power to the new panel, had wanted it to be finalized this week. The process is stalled by the insistence of First Minister-Elect David Trimble that Irish Republican Army members at least begin surrendering their weapons before he'll sit with co- administrators from Sinn Fein, the IRA's political ally.

A new spiral of Muslim-Christian violence in the troubled Indonesian province of Ambon resulted in at least eight deaths , dozens of injuries, and the burning of 50 or more houses, the official Antara news agency said. It also said Army troops so far were unable to stop the fighting and that thousands of people were seeking shelter at military barracks. Rioting in the province so far this year has killed more than 200 people.

A request for the extradition of Paraguay's controversial former Army chief was being prepared by the Asuncin government. Lino Oviedo was granted asylum earlier this week in Argentina. But many Paraguayans resent his being freed from prison after conviction on 1996 coup charges - an act that triggered the impeachment of his protg, President Raul Cubas. Cubas subsequently quit, and both went into exile. They're also suspected of involvement in last month's assassination of their rival, Vice President Luis Maria Argana.

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