EUROPE

Dozens Hurt in Bomb Blast Near Kremlin

MOSCOW -- An explosion that was apparently caused by a small bomb rocked an underground shopping mall adjacent to the Kremlin yesterday, spraying glass shards and injuring 41 people, five of them seriously. Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov called it an "act of terrorism," but the motivation behind the incident was unclear.

The blast occurred in a children's amusement arcade at Manezh Square, a collection of high-priced shops and fast-food outlets just outside the Kremlin and near the parliament building.

Witnesses said that most of the injured -- four of them children -- were hit by flying glass. "There are a lot of shrapnel-type wounds," Deputy Mayor Valery Shantsev said. Luzhkov said mall security personnel had received no threats or warnings.

Italian Generals to Stand Trial for 1980 Crash

ROME -- An Italian magistrate has decided to order four Italian generals to stand trial on charges stemming from a mysterious 1980 plane crash in which 81 people died near Sicily, Italian media reported. Rome magistrate Rosario Priore concluded the DC-9 of the now-defunct Itavia airlines went down because of "an act of war," according to media reports, which gave no other details.

Mystery has long surrounded the crash and there has been no conclusion supporting either of two theories -- that the plane crashed because of a bomb on board or that it was hit by a missile intended for another plane. Reports based on radar data released in 1997 said fighter aircraft from NATO countries were in the area the night the plane went down. The reports said one or two Libyan MiGs had tried to evade detection by flying close to the airliner.

Bosnian Serb General Pleads Not Guilty

THE HAGUE -- The highest-ranking Bosnian Serb military official in U.N. custody pleaded not guilty to charges that he committed crimes against humanity in a 1992 ethnic purge of non-Serbs. Gen. Momir Talic, the Bosnian Serb military chief of staff who was secretly indicted in March along with former Bosnian Serb cabinet minister Radislav Brdjanin, was arrested last week in Vienna. Brdjanin was arrested and brought to The Hague on July 6.

THE AMERICAS

Colombian Rebels Storm Power Plant

BOGOTA, Colombia -- Marxist rebels stormed a hydroelectric power plant in western Colombia and were holding 100 people in an operation to back the first day of a general strike by the country's main unions. The seizure of the power plant was the most serious in a wave of incidents that included sabotage attacks on electricity pylons, the burning of buses driven by strike-breakers and clashes between demonstrators and police.

At least 1.5 million union workers, together with thousands of members of peasant and grass-roots social organizations, heeded the strike call to protest government austerity measures and demand a halt to free-market economic policies.

Canadians Seize Ship With Illegal Migrants

VICTORIA, British Columbia -- Canadian authorities boarded a dilapidated ship loaded with 190 illegal migrants near the northern tip of Vancouver Island, uncovering a third attempt to smuggle human cargo into the country by sea in just five weeks.

Officials said the ship had painted-over markings similar to two others that have already brought about 250 illegal Chinese immigrants into Canada. The arrival of boat people has touched off heated debate among Canadians over lax immigration policies.

THE MIDDLE EAST

Big Aftershock Rattles Northwestern Turkey

IZMIT, Turkey -- Terrified people fled Turkey's earthquake zone after a powerful new tremor killed one man and injured at least 166 others, knocking down quake-weakened buildings. The aftershock came two weeks after the Aug. 17 earthquake that killed more than 14,000 people and left thousands of others missing. The aftershock measured 5.2 on the Richter scale.

U.S. Congressional Staffers See Iraqi Official

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- A group of U.S. congressional staff members visiting Iraq in defiance of a U.S. travel ban further angered the State Department by meeting with Iraq's deputy prime minister. A State Department spokesman said organizers of the delegation of congressional staffers had previously assured the administration they would not meet with Iraqi leaders during their fact-finding tour.

The congressional group arrived in Iraq on Saturday despite State Department objections and a U.S. travel ban. The delegates have said they wanted to examine the impact of the sanctions on the Iraqi people. The staff members work for Reps. Sam Gejdenson (D-Conn.); Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.); Earl F. Hilliard (D-Ala.); Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.); and Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.).

Drug Traffickers Free Hostages in Iran

TEHRAN -- Four Europeans held hostage by drug traffickers in Iran for more than two weeks were released unharmed, Iranian state media reported. Television footage showed the tired-looking but smiling hostages after their release. The Intelligence Ministry said in a statement that the release was "the latest stage of a series of intelligence operations and prudent policies carried out with the help of the people and regional tribes."

ASIA

U.S. Pays $4.5 Million to Chinese Victims

BEIJING -- The United States has paid $4.5 million to victims of NATO's accidental bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade in May and made progress on settling property damage claims stemming from the attack, the U.S. Embassy said.

State Department legal adviser David Andrews also concluded two days of "useful and productive" talks with the Chinese Foreign Ministry over compensation for damage to each other's diplomatic missions, the embassy said. Three Chinese were killed and 27 wounded in the NATO attack, which sparked angry protests in China.

Thirteen Killed in Kashmir Violence

SRINAGAR, India -- Thirteen people, including four civilians, were killed in separatist violence in the restive northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, security officials said. At least 38 people have been killed since Sunday night in the Himalayan region as tensions mount in advance of Indian parliamentary elections beginning Sept. 5. Separatists are calling for a boycott of the elections.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"It's a historical fact that these were used in the war and were symbols of Japanese aggression."

Japanese teachers union member Akira Yamaima, on the controversy surrounding use of the Japanese national flag and anthem -- Page A1