The first 400 NATO soldiers streamed into Macedonia yesterday to help determine whether a tenuous cease-fire is stable enough to send in the full force of 3,500. That force would collect weapons surrendered voluntarily from ethnic Albanian guerrillas as part of the peace agreement signed by both Albanian and Macedonian leaders last week. If the advance team determines both sides are adhering to the cease-fire, NATO's ruling council could agree to deploy the bigger force as soon as tomorrow. Above, a group of British NATO officers examine a map of Macedonia.

Philippine President Gloria Arroyo called for the prosecution of the owner of a Manila hotel, where safety-code violations likely contributed to the death of 72 people in a fire early Sunday. Firefighters had to cut through metal bars on the windows to reach trapped guests. The hotel reportedly lacked fire alarms, fire extinguishers, and adequate emergency exits.

In the latest Middle East violence, Israeli troops killed a Palestinian boy in the Gaza Strip and a Palestinian man trying to slip past a checkpoint in the West Bank Sunday. Palestinian militants earlier fired mortars at Jewish settlements in southern Gaza, and Israel responded by launching rockets from helicopters and tanks at Palestinian security outposts in Khan Yunis. Meanwhile, despite daily violence, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said he hopes to meet this week with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. (Story, page.)

Zimbabwe's land minister Joseph Made told white farmers they must leave their properties immediately to make way for black settlers, the state-run Sunday Mail reported. Zimbabwe's government has marked 5,327 white-owned farms for seizure, more than 90 percent of all white-owned land. Farmers won a Supreme Court ruling that declared the government's resettlement scheme unconstitutional, but President Robert Mugabe has ignored it and pushed ahead with his plan to redress inequities in land ownership left from the white-minority colonial government.

An underground methane gas and coal explosion in eastern Ukraine killed at least 36 miners and left dozens of workers missing. The blast at the Zasiadko mine in the coal-rich Donetsk region was the largest coal industry accident this year in Ukraine. The regional Work Safety Department said more than 250 miners were working underground at the time.

Pope John Paul II admonished Lebanese authorities for their crackdown against Christian activities. Lebanon leaders have accused the Maronite Christian minority, critics of Syria's domination of Lebanon, of conspiring to undermine the government. The Lebanese army has recently arrested two Christian journalists and more than 200 supporters of an exiled Christian leader.

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