American Says He Jumped From Window

BEIJING -- The American detained last week in China's Qinghai province has confirmed to a U.S. consular official that he jumped, and was not pushed, from a third-story window last week, an official source said yesterday.

Chinese and American diplomats are continuing discussions on a possible medical evacuation for Daja Meston, 29, who suffered a broken back. Although some Chinese foreign affairs officials want Meston freed, authorities have not yet agreed to release him, the source said.

A preliminary neurological examination suggests that Meston may not be paralyzed and has the "possibility" of recovering, a second official source said. But specialists in Boston will perform a more comprehensive analysis of his medical records, the source said.

Meston was detained while investigating a controversial World Bank dam project in remote Dulan county.

Hong Kong Airport Officials Defend Actions

HONG KONG -- Investigators sorted through the burned wreckage of a China Airlines crash that killed two people, while Hong Kong authorities fended off questions about why they kept the airport open during a severe storm.

Hong Kong aviation officials said they were following accepted international procedures when they kept Chek Lap Kok airport in business during Tropical Storm Sam. They said it is up to airlines to decide whether to attempt a landing.

The China Airlines flight from Bangkok to Hong Kong ended in disaster Sunday evening as the plane's right wing dipped sharply onto the ground, pitching the MD-11 jet upside down.

In all, 211 of the 313 people who survived the crash were injured. Sixty remained hospitalized late Monday, two in critical condition and four in serious condition.

South Korea Starts Diplomatic Offensive

SEOUL -- South Korea today stepped up diplomatic efforts to stop North Korea from launching a new ballistic missile by holding high-level talks with China and Japan.

South Korean Foreign Minister Hong Soon Young met his Japanese counterpart, Masahiko Komura, in Tokyo. In Beijing, the defense chiefs of China and South Korea also opened talks -- the first meeting between defense ministers of the two former Korean War adversaries.

In addition, South Korea's Unification Minister Lim Dong Won left Seoul for a week-long visit to the United States, which includes talks with former defense secretary William J. Perry, Washington's point man on North Korea.


Ethnic Albanians Bar Russian Peacekeepers

ORAHOVAC, Yugoslavia -- Ethnic Albanians barricaded roads leading to this southern Kosovo town with tractors, trucks and other vehicles to block the entry of Russian peacekeepers.

Russian troops in camouflage uniforms lounged on top of their armored personnel carriers in the stifling summer heat, while German and Dutch peacekeepers tried to persuade the ethnic Albanians to lift the barricades and allow the Russians to enter.

The Russians were supposed to have begun taking control of the town from Dutch peacekeepers yesterday. The ethnic Albanians, however, want NATO and the United Nations to send the Russians elsewhere and appeared ready for a protracted standoff.

Dutch officers said they would meet with their Russian counterparts today to discuss the standoff.

Local Trial for Kosovo War Crimes Suspects

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia -- Three Serbs arrested on suspicion of war crimes by peacekeeping troops in the central Kosovo town of Orahovac will be tried by a local court, not in The Hague, the United Nations said.

"They will face trial before the District Court in Prizren. Although this will be a domestic war crimes trial, the [International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, based at The Hague] takes great interest in this case because the events in Orahovac are related to the Milosevic indictment," said Nadia Younes, spokeswoman for the U.N. mission in Kosovo. Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was indicted for war crimes in Kosovo by the U.N. tribunal earlier this year.


Arafat, Faction Leader Heal Rift Over Accord

CAIRO -- Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and the leader of a radical Palestinian faction agreed to set aside their differences over interim peace deals with Israel.

A joint statement issued after a meeting in Cairo between Arafat and Nayef Hawatmeh, head of the Syrian-based Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said the two would work for a united Palestinian position in final peace talks with Israel.

Hawatmeh's group, as well as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and other radical groups inside and outside the Palestine Liberation Organization, opposed the interim peace agreement Arafat signed with Israel in Washington in 1993 after secret negotiations in Oslo, Norway.

Iraq Says Two Killed in U.S., British Raid

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Iraq charged that U.S. and British warplanes killed two people in an attack on the northern Iraqi town of Basheqa. The U.S. military said allied planes shot at an Iraqi military radar station after being fired upon by Iraqi antiaircraft guns, but did not comment on any possible casualties.


PERTH, Australia -- Searchers in a helicopter found an American tourist -- Robert Bogucki, 33, a volunteer fireman from Fairbanks, Alaska -- alive after he traveled 250 miles and survived 40 days in the desert by eating plants and drinking muddy water.

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Indonesia, under heavy criticism for failing to end bloodshed in violence-wracked East Timor, gave the green light for a proposed increase of U.N. civilian police there after next week's vote on independence.


"In Kobe, Mexico City, the Philippines, each one of these cities had survivors 10 to 14 days after [the quake]. So why not here?"

--Harry Oakes Jr., an American search and rescue specialist in Turkey -- Page A1