THE MIDDLE EAST
Iraq Says Iran Fired Missiles Across Border
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Iraq accused Iran yesterday of firing three surface-to-surface missiles on an Iranian opposition group's base in Iraq, warning of a "dangerous escalation" in border hostilities.
The attack occurred Thursday on the Ashraf camp of the Iraq-based People's Mujaheddin guerrilla group, the official Iraqi News Agency said.
There was no comment from Iran.
A spokesman for the guerrillas, Farid Soleimani, said there were no casualties among the guerrillas. But six Iraqi farmers outside the camp were wounded, Iraqi and Mujaheddin officials said. The camp is about 50 miles from the Iranian border.
Resting Place of Mummies Reportedly Found
CAIRO -- Archaeologists have discovered a burial ground in western Egypt believed to contain at least 10,000 mummies, the largest such find to date.
Researchers in Egypt's Western Desert have so far unearthed 200 mummies, including some of the wealthy and powerful of 3,000 years ago, Egypt's Middle East News Agency reported, quoting the head of the 12-member discovery team. The burial ground, within the city of Bawiti, 185 miles southwest of Cairo, has been renamed Valley of the Mummies, the news agency said.
Ethiopia, Eritrea Renew Border Fighting
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia -- Ethiopian and Eritrean forces clashed in a second day of heavy fighting on the westernmost front of their 13-month border war on the Horn of Africa.
Reports from both countries said battles had also broken out Wednesday at Bure on the eastern front, 50 miles west of the port of Assab. That skirmish reportedly ended by Thursday.
Each government blamed the other for initiating the fighting and claimed to have inflicted heavy casualties on the other side.
Militia Group Captures Key Port in Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia -- A Somali militia group backed by Eritrea took control of the southern Somali port of Kismaayo in a fierce battle in which more than two dozen people were killed, witnesses said.
An official from the Somali National Front, said his forces took control of Kismaayo after driving out the militia of Mohamed Said Hersi Morgan, who had controlled the town since 1993.
The town's capture is a victory for leading Somali warlord Hussein Mohamed Aideed, an ally of the Somali National Front, who this week lost control of the strategic town of Baidoa in central Somalia to a militia group backed by Ethiopia.
Belgium Puts Food Back on Shelves
BRUSSELS -- Belgium shrugged off international condemnation and resumed stocking shelves with local meats and delicacies that many countries around the world have banned for fear they contain cancer-causing dioxin.
The Belgian government insists it has lists of farms that offer safe poultry, eggs, pork and beef. More than a thousand other farms are still barred from selling products possibly affected by the chemical.
Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene said 17 percent of the country's cattle farms, 40 percent of pork companies and almost half the poultry farms were prohibited from selling.
Pope Visits Warsaw Holocaust Memorial
WARSAW -- Flanked by Jews, Pope John Paul II stood in silent prayer at the marble monument in a square known by the German name Umschlagplatz -- the notorious site from where the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto were sent by the Nazis to the gas chambers.
Earlier, the nation's chief rabbi -- a Holocaust survivor -- had pressed John Paul to remove a large cross on property bordering the former Auschwitz Nazi death camp. Jewish leaders denounced what they called Rabbi Pinchas Menachem Joskowicz's "scandalous" and inappropriate gesture.
Surgeon Says Yeltsin's Heart Appears Fine
MOSCOW -- American surgeon Michael DeBakey said Boris Yeltsin's heart appears to be fine, a news report said.
The Houston surgeon, who was a consultant when Yeltsin had bypass surgery in 1996, said the president's cardiovascular system was in full working order after he reviewed materials from Kremlin doctors, the Russian Tass news agency reported.
Rising Sun Flag Finally Gains Legal Status
TOKYO -- Japan's cabinet voted to give official status to the rising sun flag and the imperial anthem, two symbols long criticized as linked to the country's militaristic past.
The legislation making the "Hinomaru" -- a scarlet disc on a white background -- the national flag and the "Kimigayo" song the national anthem now moves to Parliament for consideration.
The flag and anthem have been de facto national symbols for decades, but postwar governments have shied away from giving them legal status because many people consider them emblems of Japanese militarism that led to World War II.
Indonesians Protest Slow Vote Count
JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Indonesians took to the streets to vent their anger at the slow counting of votes from this week's historic election, saying the delay opened the door to manipulation and cheating.
With less than a fifth of votes officially tallied, the ruling Golkar party -- widely despised for its longtime links to the regime of former president Suharto -- was holding up strongly in unofficial vote tallies, securing more than 20 percent to stay in second place behind the party of opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri.
More than 100 students rallied outside the tally room in a downtown Jakarta hotel. About 40 tried to push their way inside to hold a news conference, but were blocked by security guards.
Court Deals Hong Kong Setback on Migrants
HONG KONG -- Hong Kong suffered a new defeat in its fight to stave off migration from mainland China when a court ruled that officials illegally ordered 17 migrants to go home.
Would-be immigrants from the mainland cannot be deported unless they first have a chance to try to prove their residency rights, Hong Kong's Court of Appeal said.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"We are not anti-American. NATO will be welcomed here if it does its job."
Goran Matic, Yugoslav government minister during an interview amid Serbian celebrations welcoming Russian troops to Pristina