THE MIDDLE EAST

Kurdish Rebels Back Ocalan on Peace

IMRALI, Turkey -- Kurdish rebels yesterday backed their leader Abdullah Ocalan's courtroom call for an end to fighting, but a suicide bombing in southeastern Turkey appeared to warn of dire results if he were hanged.

President Suleyman Demirel appealed to Ocalan's Kurdish Workers' Party guerrillas to surrender, saying further fighting was futile.

Ocalan, captured by Turkish special forces in Kenya three months ago, attended the third day of his treason trial. He apologized Monday for the deaths of soldiers in a conflict that has killed about 30,000 people since 1984.

Iraq Says Western Planes Wound Three

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Iraq said three people were wounded when Western planes bombed civilian and military targets in a "no-fly" zone in the north of the country.

"The planes . . . attacked some of our service installations and [military] camps in Nineveh province and the hostile bombing led to injury of three citizens," the Iraqi News Agency quoted a military spokesman as saying.

A statement from the jets' base in southern Turkey said U.S. warplanes attacked Iraqi air defenses after being targeted by radar in the northern no-fly zone.

EUROPE

Russia Misses Another Debt Payment

MOSCOW -- Russia missed another big debt payment owed to Western banks -- this one for $578 million -- and more defaults are expected as the country's finances show little sign of improvement.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin urged parliament to approve a package of economic reforms to help Russia secure a loan from the International Monetary Fund. Communists and other hard-liners who dominate parliament are generally hostile to the IMF and have been reluctant to approve belt-tightening measures.

Squall Flips 78 Sailboats Off England

LONDON -- A sudden squall struck a fleet of small boats racing off the southern coast of England, capsizing 78 vessels and setting off an air-sea rescue that helped save all 156 sailors from the rough water.

One 37-year-old woman was hospitalized for hypothermia, police said.

The race began in calm weather. The squall blew in at 3:45 p.m. and severely buffeted the 18-foot Dart catamarans, small high-performance sailing vessels.

ASIA

Guerrillas in Kashmir Spurn India's Offer

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Islamic guerrillas occupying an icy Himalayan frontier rejected India's offer of safe passage out of the battle zone if they leave their dugouts and return to Pakistan.

The United Jehad Council, which represents 14 militant groups, including four main groups fighting in the remote Kargil mountains, said the guerrillas would not leave the area because it is their "homeland."

Muslim guerrillas seized strategic mountain positions in the Indian-held part of Kashmir last month. India accuses Pakistan of backing the guerrillas in a bid to change the cease-fire line through the territory.

N. Korean Soccer Coach Flees to South

SEOUL -- North Korea's former national soccer team coach has escaped his hunger-stricken homeland and arrived in South Korea to seek asylum, intelligence officials said.

Yoon Myong Chan, 50, who was the coach of North Korea's national soccer team between 1990 and 1994, is the first North Korean sports official to defect to South Korea.

Malaysia, China Reach Defense Agreement

BEIJING -- Malaysia and China have agreed to boost defense cooperation and use peaceful means of resolving tensions over disputed waters in the South China Sea, Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar said.

The pledges were part of a broader agreement expanding political, trade and transportation between the two countries in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of diplomatic ties.

AFRICA

Nigeria Tries to Quell Tribal Clashes

LAGOS, Nigeria -- Nigeria's new civilian government has deployed new troops to the oil-rich Niger delta, where 200 people have died in four days of tribal clashes, newspapers reported.

The fighting, which began Saturday between members of the rival Itsekiri and the Ijaw ethnic groups, intensified Monday when militant Ijaw youths launched a second attack on the mainly Itsekiri village of Arunton, 340 miles southeast of Lagos, the Guardian newspaper reported.

At least 150 soldiers were sent to the area to support troops already stationed there.

THE AMERICAS

Turmoil Continues in Haiti Over Shootings

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- A U.N. police expert called for the suspension of all officers involved in the shooting of 11 people in the Haitian capital last week, and protesters staged a march to demand the ouster of the police leadership.

Police officers shot 11 people in the central slum of Carrefour Feuilles Friday. Authorities said the 11 victims were gang members who had opened fire on police and died in a shootout.

Relatives and witnesses insisted the dead had no gang ties and were gunned down in cold blood.

FOR THE RECORD

VIENNA -- Salvage teams have retrieved seven more bodies from the Tauern tunnel in the Alps after a devastating weekend fire, bringing the death toll in the blaze to 12.

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Former president Suharto said he would sue Time magazine over an article alleging he had a multibillion-dollar fortune, much of it stashed abroad.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"These are the worst prison conditions I've heard of since the tiger cages of Vietnam."

-- David Langness, who visited Albania this week with a UCLA medical team, on the treatment of ethnic Albanians in Serbian prisons -- Page A20