News In Brief

International relief teams dug through the rubble of Tuesday's earthquake, searching for survivors in western Turkey.

The human toll soared beyond 3,500 killed and more than 14,000 injured. Turkish authorities in Izmit, the industrial city hit hardest by the temblor, said they were gaining control of a massive fire at the country's largest oil refinery. The blaze put many nearby plants at risk, including fertilizer and petrochemical factories, and it forced thousands to evacuate the area. Firefighting has been limited to aircraft, as an absence of electricity prevented firemen from using use pumps to bring sea water to the site. Above, Izmit residents receive bread from police.

Russian forces seized control of a strategic pass in the Caucasus Mountains, on the border between Dagestan and Chechnya. The pass has been a key point for transport of Chechen weapons and troops to the Islamicist-rebels in Dagestan since fighting broke out 12 days ago. Russia's Interior Ministry said 450 of the rebels seeking independence and 22 Russian soldiers had been killed in the skirmish. In related news, Moscow admitted that one of its warplanes had accidentally dropped antipersonnel mines meant for the pro-Dagestan militants on Georgian territory.

A poll of 1,000 people conducted in Belgrade indicated that more than 70 percent of Serbs want to end Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's regime. With the majority in favor of curbing Serbia's political and economic isolation, only 24 percent of respondents said in the Partner Marketing Research Agency poll that they would support the ruler if elections were held now.

Pakistan and India both reported that they were capable of creating neutron bombs to safeguard their national interests. Neutron bombs have more intense radiation than conventional nuclear weapons - and they leave a city's infrastructure mostly intact, while maximizing the loss of human life.

Worried about a possible defeat in the district once represented by her assassinated husband, Sonia Gandhi filed nomination papers to run for Parliament in the Bellary district, 900 miles south of New Delhi. Her Italian birth, political inexperience, and the current strength of the nationalist Bharatiya Janata party have moved Gandhi to seek the safest seat possible. Her Congress Party has never lost an election in Bellary. She has indicated she may still run in Amethi - once her husband's constituency. In India, candidates are eligible to run in up to 10 districts.

All 14 members of the Kattouf family were killed Tuesday, following US and British airstrikes on Jassan, Iraq, in one of the country's no-fly zones. Jassan residents said there was no military activity in the area, but Reuters reported that an Iraqi military radar installation was clearly visible 300 yards from the family's home.

Referring to Tuesday's fragile cease-fire between Uganda and his country, Rwanda's Lt. -Col. Patrick Nyavumba said that the peace was holding, that no shots had been fired, and that "supply vehicles are beginning to move about."

Declaring that Iran actually respects the American people and "welcomes cultural, social, and athletic exchanges," President Mohamad Khatami told the Iran Daily that he sees positive changes in "the tone of American politicians." Last month, the US eased trade sanctions on Iran for food and medicine.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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