EUROPE

Milosevic's Foes Storm Town Hall in Serbia

VALJEVO, Yugoslavia -- Anti-government protesters led by a maverick local artist stormed the town hall in Valjevo in western Serbia yesterday. About 20 policemen guarding the building beat people back with batons while demonstrators threw stones at the windows, and one smashed some glass with a baseball bat.

It was the second improvised demonstration in Serbia against Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in the past two weeks amid a series of more orderly rallies called by opposition parties in towns across the republic. Serbia is the larger of Yugoslavia's two republics.

The artist, Bogoljub Arsenijevic, eventually broke in with a group of his followers by getting onto a balcony and smashing windows, but they were soon thrown out again by police.

Many Russian Computers Not Ready for Y2K

MOSCOW -- Only one-third of Russia's vital computer systems are ready for the millennium, and the government probably won't have the money to fix the rest in time, officials said.

Finance Ministry officials said at a cabinet meeting that Russia needs at least $187 million to prepare its computers for 2000, the Russian Tass news agency reported. The new estimates were dramatically lower than previous figures, which said Russia would need $1 billion to $3 billion to fight the millennium bug. The Finance Ministry did not explain the discrepancy.

Bosnian Serb Pleads Not Guilty to War Crimes

THE HAGUE -- A former Bosnian Serb cabinet minister pleaded not guilty to orchestrating an ethnic purge that drove 100,000 non-Serbs from northwestern Bosnia in 1992 and left hundreds of others dead.

Radislav Brdjanin, 49, spoke only to confirm his name, date and place of birth and to formally enter a plea at his 45-minute arraignment before the U.N. war crimes tribunal.

The most senior Bosnian Serb civilian official yet to be brought to the U.N. court for trial, Brdjanin faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted of persecution, a crime against humanity.

Prints Tied to Embassy Bombing Suspects

LONDON -- Two Egyptian men suspected of conspiring with Osama bin Laden in the bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa were given away by their fingerprints, a prosecutor said as the two made their first appearance in a London court.

The fingerprints of Ibrahim Hussein Abdel Hadi Eidarous, 42, and Adel Mohanned Abdul Almagid Bary, 39, were found on originals of faxes that claimed responsibility for the bombings, said Arvinder Sambi, appearing for the Crown Prosecution Service on behalf of the U.S. government.

The near simultaneous bombings of the U.S. missions in Kenya and Tanzania on Aug. 7 killed 224 people, including 12 Americans, and injured more than 5,400 others.

THE AMERICAS

With Talks in Peril, Colombian Rebels Ease Up

BOGOTA, Colombia -- Marxist rebels ordered a lull in their nationwide offensive after a wave of attacks that appeared to imperil President Andres Pastrana's bid to bring a peaceful end to Colombia's long-running civil war.

There were no new reports of fighting after at least four attacks Sunday night in a two-day rebel campaign that the army branded a failure. Still, the armed forces chief, Gen. Fernando Tapias, said the violence could flare again at any time.

After Quake, Guatemala Begins Cleaning Up

GUATEMALA CITY -- Still recovering from last year's Hurricane Mitch, Guatemalans began picking up the pieces from an earthquake that rumbled through the Caribbean coast of Central America, killing two and injuring at least 40.

The quake, felt in five countries Sunday morning, measured up to 6.6 on the Richter scale, enough to destroy homes and crack buildings close to the epicenter near Puerto Barrios, a port town on the Caribbean Sea, near the Honduran border.

U.S. Army reservists still are stationed in the Puerto Barrios area as part of the international recovery program to help rebuild after the devastation caused by Mitch. Yesterday they searched for earthquake victims.

Western Union Opens Outlets in Cuba

HAVANA -- Western Union has expanded money transfer services to Cuba after a deliberately low-key launch of operations on the Communist-ruled island, an executive with the American financial services company said.

"It's been a slow start, but that's okay," Liz Alicea-Velez, Western Union's vice president for Latin America and the Caribbean, said after attending a small, private ceremony in a Havana department store that marked the opening of 29 Western Union outlets across the island, 16 of them in Havana.

Western Union, owned by Denver-based First Data Corp., provides money transfer services from the United States to 160 countries worldwide. Cuba was the only nation in Latin America and the Caribbean not covered by its network.

ASIA

Senator Says N. Korea Ready for Missile Test

BEIJING -- North Korea appears ready to fire a test missile in the next two months despite warnings that the launch would destabilize northeast Asia and damage improving relations with the United States, a U.S. senator said.

Sen. Robert G. Torricelli (D-N.J.), returning from a 36-hour visit, said he left the country Sunday discouraged and convinced that the Communist government is intent on firing a multi-stage rocket "despite the illogic and enormous setback" the test would cause.

The Communist nation also refused to release a Korean American businesswoman jailed last month, Torricelli said.

FOR THE RECORD

DAMASCUS, Syria -- Syrian President Hafez Assad met Jordanian Royal Court chief Abdul-Karim Kabariti, the official Syrian news agency SANA said. The subject of the meeting was not disclosed, but the two countries are holding extensive contacts over the possible shape of peace in the Middle East.

BRUSSELS -- Belgium's new government of liberals, socialists and environmentalists took office after more than 40 years of rule by the center-right.

NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania -- Mauritania has expelled 40 French soldiers and recalled its own officers on training in France following the arrest of a Mauritanian officer by French police, officials said.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"We feel there is no need to continue using the `one China' term."

Su Chi, chairman of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council