News In Brief

With temperatures dropping below freezing, rescuers battled to recover survivors from the debris of Friday's massive earthquake in northwestern Turkey. At least 374 people were reported dead, and 3,000 injured. The temblor - at a magnitude of 7.2 - was the most devastating of the aftershocks from the Aug. 17 quake in western Turkey, which killed more than 17,000 people. Meanwhile, President Clinton is flying to Turkey, where he will attend an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe summit in Istanbul later this week.

Demanding cooperation in the arrest of alleged terrorist Osama bin Laden, the UN levied sanctions against Afghanistan's ruling Taliban military government. In response, thousands of Afghans swarmed the streets of the capital, Kabul, shouting "Death to America" and burning US flags. Bin Laden is wanted by the US in connection with the 1998 bombing of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Amid growing international criticism of its seven-week assault, Russia secured Chechnya's second-largest city, Gudermes, on Friday - and yesterday, Russian forces were intensifying airstrikes on suspected rebel bases in the area of the capital, Grozny. Troops were regrouping for what was expected to be a full-fledged attack.

With hopes of a breakthrough in their stalemated talks on China's entry into the World Trade Organization, US negotiators tried unsuccessfully to hammer out a deal with China. Premier Zhu Rongji was said to have personally intervened to try to reach a deal. The US team was scheduled to depart Friday, but has extended its stay until at least today. The Communist nation has been vying for membership in the WTO for 13 years.

Heads of state were to gather in Havana today for the first day of an Ibero-American summit. Presidents of Latin-American countries and Portugal, as well as Spanish royalty, were to join Fidel Castro to discuss issues of common interest, such as trade. The US was urging attendants to press Cuba on its poor human-rights record.

Devastating rains pounded southern France for a third day, causing torrential flooding and claiming the lives of at least 22 people. The downpour began Friday, forcing rivers to burst their banks in the Aude and Tarn departments, where some 15,000 people remain without electricity, and 30 villages have no drinking water.

Resigned to accepting the "lesser of two evils," Ukrainians headed to the polls to cast ballots for the next president. Fearing the "red menace" of challenger Petro Symonenko, the majority of voters exiting the polls said they had chosen the unpopular incumbent, Leonid Kuchma. Many said that, although Kuchma's tenure has seen increased poverty and unkept promises, they preferred not to risk a change.

Leaders of rival Turkish and Greek populations on Cyprus agreed to meet for talks in New York the first week of December. Cyprus has been bitterly divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded the northern third of the island.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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