News In Brief

Fighting for his political survival, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu courted the votes of Russian immigrants as campaigning neared its close before Monday's crucial national election. Meanwhile, centrist rival and ex-Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai angrily resisted pressure to quit the race because of his low opinion-poll numbers - a move that could tilt the election to Netanyahu's other main challenger, Labor Party leader Ehud Barak. Analysts said if Mordechai remains in the race he likely will force a runoff June 1 between Netanyahu and Barak. For weeks, Barak has held leads of 8 percent or more in opinion polls.

In the first visible sign of a pullout from Kosovo, 120 Army troops crossed back into Serbia while news photographers recorded their departure. The withdrawal was announced by Yugoslavia Monday, but a field commander blamed the "slow pace" on stepped-up NATO bombing. The Western alliance has demanded not only a total withdrawal but also the return of ethnic Albanian refugees and deployment of an international peace-keeping force.

Anti-American demonstrations easily could resume in Beijing unless China receives a more satisfactory apology from the US for last week's embassy bombing in Belgrade, government officials suggested. The US compound remained closed until at least Monday, although calm had returned to the area. But official news media kept up strident attacks against the US, making it clear that President Clinton's repeated expressions of regret have not been enough.)

With hundreds of noisy demonstrators outside, legislators in Moscow opened impeachment hearings against Russian President Boris Yeltsin. A vote in the Communist-dominated Duma, the powerful lower house of parliament, was expected as soon as today, with prospects for passage improved by his dismissal of popular Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov on Wednesday. That move angered many lawmakers, including some who'd backed Yeltsin on earlier issues.

Suspicion fell on a disgruntled former intelligence operative for setting up an Internet site that revealed the names of more than 100 British spies. The Foreign Office said the US-based site was a threat to national security as well as to the lives of those identified. Foreign Secretary Robin Cook accused ex-agent Richard Tomlinson, who was fired in 1995, of responsibility. Tomlinson denied the allegation.

An internationally respected former prime minister and banker with "no known passions except for chocolate" easily won the presidency of Italy. Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, a political independent currently serving as treasury minister, took 707 of the 990 votes cast in both houses of parliament plus regional assemblies. The seven-year term of the nation's incumbent president, Luigi Scalfaro, ends May 28.

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