News In Brief

A deal that would break the deadlock over formation of a self-rule administration for Northern Ireland by Wednesday was expected to be pressed upon the province's first minister-designate, David Trimble. He has refused to sit with deputies from Sinn Fein, the political ally of the Irish Republican Army, until the IRA surrenders its weapons. But reports said the British and Irish Republic governments would try to tempt Trimble to accept the deal by promising a mechanism to expel the Sinn Fein deputies if the IRA failed to disarm. Meanwhile, Sinn Fein would be pressured to agree by Monday to secure the IRA's cooperation. Britain wants to hand over self-rule powers by Wednesday and has warned "there is no doubt at all" of renewed violence if the peace process collapses.

On their first visit to Kosovo, NATO's military and civilian chiefs were greeted with cheers and kisses by ethnic-Albanian survivors of the conflict. Secretary-General Javier Solana, accompanied by US Gen. Wesley Clark, was on an inspection tour of the province. Clark said mounting evidence of atrocities there "fully justified" NATO bombing of Yugoslav targets. As Clark and Solana visited Kosovo's capital, however, three Serbs were found dead in a Pristina University building - apparently shot only hours before.

A verdict in the treason trial of rebel Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan will be delivered Tuesday, the Turkish court hearing the case announced. It's widely believed he will be convicted, which would carry an automatic sentence of death. But such a penalty would have to be upheld on appeal, then ratified by parliament. Ocalan's lawyers also are expected to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in the event of a conviction.

Prospects for cease-fire talks tomorrow on Congo were cast into doubt after published reports of a large new infusion of troops to aid embattled President Laurent Kabila. A leading Zimbabwe newspaper said that country's government had sent 3,000 more soldiers to help Kabila. That would put Zimbabwe's contribution at 11,000 - one-third of its Army. The news appeared to belie a claim by Kabila's defense minister that the allies were ready for a truce.

Two days of meetings between the US and North Korea ended with the admission that inspectors of suspected underground nuclear-weapons sites had found no evidence of cheating. The meetings, in Beijing, were in addition to the talks between North and South Korea - which resume tomorrow - on aid and the reunions of families divided by the peninsula's 1950-53 war. The US has a deal with North Korea to provide limited assistance in exchange for a freeze in nuclear-weapons development. But satellite photos suggested the North was violating its terms.

In a surprise move, the cloning of human embryos for medical research was banned by the British government. The health ministry had been expected to endorse the recommendation of its advisors and allow continued research into cloning for the treatment of infertility and disease, provided the embryos were destroyed after 14 days. Britain also bans cloning to develop replacement tissue.

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