MIDDLE EAST

Targets Outside No-Fly Zone Hit, Iraq Claims

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Iraq said 19 civilians were killed and 11 wounded yesterday in a series of U.S. and British air raids on areas outside "no-fly" zones in the north and south of the country. It was the first time Iraq has reported Western raids outside the Western-imposed no-fly zones since it stepped up its defiance of the Western restrictions last December.

The death toll was the highest reported by Iraq in a single day since the four-day Desert Fox campaign by the United States and Britain in December. It brought the toll from almost-daily bombings this year to 134 deaths, according to Iraqi statements.

In Washington, the Pentagon denied attacks were launched against targets outside the no-fly zones. But the U.S. military confirmed raids in the northern and southern zones involving U.S. and British jets in response to what it called Iraqi military provocations.

Hezbollah Kills 2 in Retaliatory Attacks

MARKABA, Lebanon -- Hezbollah guerrillas clashed with Israeli troops in southern Lebanon, killing two Israeli soldiers and wounding six others in retaliation for the death of a Hezbollah commander, security officials said.

Israel sent its air force on two bombing runs during the fierce artillery, mortar and rocket battles, which raged for nearly four hours in Wadi Slouki, a valley in a no-man's land across from the Israeli-occupied zone in southern Lebanon.

Israeli jets fired two missiles at the area, which is believed to be used by Hezbollah guerrillas as a base to launch attacks on Israeli troops and their allied Lebanese militiamen in the occupied zone. There was no word on casualties from the air strikes.

Bombed Sudanese Factory to Be Rebuilt

KHARTOUM, Sudan -- The owners of El Shifa Pharmaceutical Industries Co., whose plant was destroyed by U.S. cruise missiles last year, say they will begin building a new factory shortly.

Idris Babiker, El Shifa's director general and chairman of its board of directors, was quoted by the official Sudan News Agency as saying the foundation stone of the new $45 million plant will be laid "later this month."

EUROPE

Serbs Bury Couple Killed by Mortar Fire

KLOKOT, Yugoslavia -- With an American tank keeping guard nearby, a procession of angry Kosovo Serbs buried a young couple killed by a volley of mortar fire from the neighboring ethnic Albanian village.

A Serbian Orthodox priest and young men bearing two large crosses and wreaths led the way for the coffins, carried on tractor-drawn carts, as wailing mourners blamed NATO peacekeepers for failing to protect them. Nine mortar rounds slammed into Klokot late Monday, and one shell hit a fence post, killing a man and a woman standing nearby, said U.S. Cpl. Michael Sibert.

Sinn Fein Says Peace Process Must Go On

BELFAST, Northern Ireland -- The pro-republican Sinn Fein party insisted that the Irish Republican Army truce is intact but said urgent action is needed to save Northern Ireland's stalled peace pact.

"I think clearly the situation -- and the agreement -- is unraveling and I think there is a failure of politics. I think that has to be arrested," senior Sinn Fein official Martin McGuinness said after meeting Britain's Northern Ireland secretary, Marjorie Mowlam.

China Asks U.K. to Bar Entry of Sect Leader

LONDON -- China said it asked Britain to bar the head of the Falun Gong spiritual movement from entering the United Kingdom after he was reported to be planning to attend the group's first British conference.

But Britain said it had no grounds for action against Li Hongzhi, despite China's call for international help in securing his arrest. Li claims 100 million devotees to Falun Gong, which has been outlawed in China.

ASIA

Supreme Court Approves Extradition

MANILA -- The Supreme Court allowed extradition proceedings to continue against a Filipino businessman sought by the United States on charges of making illegal campaign contributions to President Clinton.

The court issued an order that nullified a lower court's ruling temporarily stopping the Department of Justice from proceeding with a U.S. request to extradite Mark Jimenez, a friend of President Joseph Estrada.

Singapore's Next President Selected

SINGAPORE -- Only one presidential candidate has passed Singapore's screening process -- the man endorsed by former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew -- and that candidate will become Singapore's sixth president today.

Diplomat S.R. Nathan, 75, is the only person who was issued a Certificate of Eligibility, the Presidential Elections Committee said. The other two candidates, a private tutor and an opposition politician, did not meet requirements, the committee said. It did not elaborate on those requirements.

THE AMERICAS

Brazil Opens Mass Trial of Police

BELEM, Brazil -- Opening a mass trial of police charged in an infamous 1996 massacre of rural workers, one of the accused officers said it was actually the workers who incited the violence.

The massacre of 19 landless workers was one of the bloodiest examples of the land-related violence that plagues Brazil, where the poorest 40 percent of the population owns just 1 percent of the land. With 150 officers charged, the case has the largest number of defendants in Brazilian history.

Ecuador President Picks Friend for Top Post

QUITO, Ecuador -- President Jamil Mahuad named a private banker and close friend for the "super minister" post he created last week to help the country overcome its worst economic crisis in decades.

Guillermo Lasso, a director for private Banco de Guayaquil, has been named as Secretary of Economy to act as a coordinator for several key ministries, among them that of finance headed by Ana Armijos.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"Did you ever wonder what hell would be like? Well, you've stepped right into it."

Ismail Hicyilmaz, chief surgeon of a hospital in Izmit, Turkey -- Page A15