THE AMERICAS

U.S. Official Urges More Aid for Colombia

BOGOTA, Colombia -- Washington's top anti-drug official pushed yesterday for increased military aid to counter rebels in Colombia, saying peace talks to end the nation's 35-year conflict would only work if Colombia's security forces were strengthened against the threat of "narco-guerrillas."

Visiting the world's No. 1 cocaine-producing country, Barry R. McCaffrey made his plea as rescuers tried to reach what might be the wreckage of a U.S. spy plane lost on an anti-narcotics mission.

The missing De Havilland RC-7 plane, packed with sophisticated radar and eavesdropping equipment, apparently slammed into an uncharted mountain in bad weather, likely killing the five American soldiers and two Colombian air force officers on board, McCaffrey said. It was reported missing Friday.

Mexican Opposition Party Elects Woman Head

MEXICO CITY -- Sen. Amalia Garcia became the first woman to head a major Mexican political party when the main leftist opposition force elected her as its president in voting over the weekend.

Partial results showed Garcia almost sure to be the next president of the Democratic Revolutionary Party. Garcia was leading Felix Salgado, also a senator, 54.9 percent to 26.8 percent, with 82 percent of an estimated 500,000 ballots counted.

It was the second time the party held the vote. A previous effort in March had to be scrubbed because of fraud, an embarrassing setback as the party gears up for Mexico's presidential election next year.

EUROPE

Croat Leader Blamed for Muslim Massacre

THE HAGUE -- Croatian President Franjo Tudjman's "obsession" with annexing parts of Bosnia led to the massacre of hundreds of Muslims, a prosecutor for the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal said.

Prosecutor Gregory Kehoe said Bosnian Croat forces acted as agents of Tudjman's government as they swept through central Bosnia in 1992, '93 and '94 killing Muslim men, women and children and torching their homes and mosques.

Greece, Turkey Try to Improve Relations

ANKARA, Turkey -- Turkey and Greece held talks on tourism and the environment, a cautious step toward improving their strained relations while avoiding for now contentious topics such as the divided island of Cyprus.

The discussions in Ankara will continue today and then move to Athens on Thursday to tackle other issues, including organized crime, drug smuggling and terrorism, the Turkish foreign ministry said. Neither side would comment on the day's results.

THE MIDDLE EAST

Jordan, Syria Hold Talks on Israel Peace

DAMASCUS, Syria -- King Abdullah of Jordan and Syrian President Hafez Assad concluded talks in Damascus on how to revive the Syrian-Israeli peace talks that broke off in early 1996, officials said.

Joubran Kourieh, a spokesman for Assad, said Abdullah briefed Assad on the outcome of his contacts both in and outside the region. "The talks covered latest developments in the regional and international arenas and efforts . . . to revive the peace process," he said.

Palestinian Lawmaker Visits Israeli Parliament

JERUSALEM -- The speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council paid a groundbreaking visit to Israel's parliament, drawing shouts of "shame" from right-wing Israeli lawmakers.

Ahmed Korei, also known as Abu Ala, did not address the Knesset, but said later he hoped his visit would allow Israelis and Palestinians to use their legislatures to advance the peace process.

Women's Rights Order Called Unconstitutional K UWAIT CITY -- A senior Kuwaiti parliamentarian said a decree granting women full political rights was unconstitutional and blamed the government for failing to properly present the measure.

Deputy speaker Mishari Anjari, a former justice minister, told a news conference that most of the 60 decrees passed by Emir Sheik Jabir Ahmed Sabah during parliament's May-June dissolution failed to meet a constitutional requirement for urgency.

ASIA

1,200 Chinese Officials Reportedly Detained

BEIJING -- Some 1,200 Chinese government officials are among thousands being detained for allegedly belonging to the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement, a human rights group reported.

The Information Center for Human Rights and Democratic Movement, based in Hong Kong, said 1,200 officials are being held at schools outside Beijing where they are being forced to sever their allegiance with Falun Gong and read Communist Party literature.

The roundup took place Saturday and followed the arrests of thousands of other Falun Gong practitioners last week in a nationwide sweep, the rights group said.

Indonesian Election Validation Delayed

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- A divided Election Commission failed to validate results from Indonesia's first free elections in four decades, heeding protests from several parties whose complaints have already delayed completion of the electoral process by more than three weeks.

President B.J. Habibie ordered a separate, supervisory committee to investigate the complaints before making a final decision on the results in one week.

Indonesian Troops Kill Up to 41 Rebels

LHOKSEUMAWE, Indonesia -- Indonesian troops killed as many as 41 people in a raid in Aceh province, human rights groups said. The army said the dead were rebels slain in a gun battle.

The death toll from Saturday's violence was among the highest recorded in Aceh province, located on Sumatra island, since fighting between security forces and separatists sharply escalated this year.

AFRICA

Ethiopia, Eritrea Finalizing Peace Deal

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia -- In a further indication of a breakthrough in peace efforts, Ethiopia and Eritrea have agreed to send delegations to Algeria to finalize arrangements to end their 14-month border war, the Organization of African Unity said. The OAU announcement followed a week of mediation efforts by Algerian Premier Ahmed Ouyahia and U.S. envoy Anthony Lake, who said before leaving the region Saturday that the conflict's conclusion was in sight.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"I am rebuilding democracy here, not tearing it down."

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez -- Page A1