EUROPE

Cause of Fatal Moscow Blast Unclear

MOSCOW--As excavators pulled the last bodies from the wreckage of a shattered nine-story apartment building yesterday, investigators and politicians tried to determine whether the explosion that killed at least 90 people was an accident or was caused by terrorists.

President Boris Yeltsin declared Monday a day of mourning for the victims of the Moscow blast and of the Sept. 4 car bomb that demolished an apartment building for army families in the southern Russian region of Dagestan, killing 64 people. That blast was blamed on Islamic militants battling Russian troops in the region--and many Muscovites, including Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, have said they believe they were behind the Moscow explosion as well.

Nazi War Crimes Trial in Lithuania Halted

VILNIUS, Lithuania--The first Nazi war crimes trial in a former Soviet republic effectively ended before it began when judges postponed the proceedings indefinitely because of the defendant's poor health.

Judges said Aleksandras Lileikis, 92, was too ill to stand trial and that the case could resume only if his health improves. Lawyers say there is virtually no chance judges will ever restart the trial, given Lileikis's age and condition.

N. Ireland Protestant Refuses to Join Talks

BELFAST--Northern Ireland's fragile peace process has run into trouble again as a powerful Protestant politician voiced the opinion that the Good Friday political settlement plan would fail.

John Taylor, deputy leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, said he would not join his party's delegation in mediation talks next week aimed at reviving the stalled peace pact because he believes Catholics are not committed to peace.

THE MIDDLE EAST

Bomb Explodes in Istanbul Building

ISTANBUL--A bomb exploded in an elevator at the Istanbul office of the treasury, wounding at least 20 people, police said. Hours earlier, a bomb found in another government office in the city was safely detonated by bomb squads. A policeman said none of the injured in the blast was seriously hurt.

U.S. Planes Bomb Iraqi Air Defense Site

ANKARA, Turkey--U.S. warplanes bombed an Iraqi air defense warning site in response to Iraqi antiaircraft fire, the U.S. military said. The site, south of Mosul, 250 miles north of Baghdad, was part of a wider Iraqi air defense system that had regularly targeted planes patrolling the "no-fly" zone over northern Iraq, according to a statement issued by the Germany-based U.S. European Command.

ASIA

U.S.-N. Korea Talks Likely to Continue

BERLIN--Talks here between the United States and North Korea aimed at reducing tension on the divided Korean peninsula will likely be extended, diplomatic sources said.

They said North Korean officials now expect several more days of discussions, which began in the German capital Tuesday and had been due to end today.

Jailed Malaysian Complains of Poisoning

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--Malaysia's jailed former finance minister, Anwar Ibrahim, said political opponents have poisoned him with arsenic, and he demanded an investigation into what he said could be attempted murder. Anwar was taken to the hospital after his lawyer said a pathologist in Australia had certified that a dangerously high level of arsenic was found in Anwar's urine.

AFRICA

Virus Kills 73 in Congo Mine

KINSHASA, Congo--An ebola-like virus festering in a Congolese gold mine has killed 73 people, health officials said.

The 73 have died of hemorrhagic fever--which produces massive internal bleeding--believed to have been caused by the Marburg Virus. Marburg is one of four virulent viruses that cause hemorrhagic fever.

Zimbabwe Court Convicts 3 Americans

HARARE, Zimbabwe--Three Americans who called themselves missionaries and were caught trying to carry guns on board a civilian airliner were found guilty of possessing weapons of war and gun-smuggling.

Judge Ismael Adam of the Harare High Court said the men violated security laws by carrying unlicensed offensive weapons and trying to transport guns in their baggage on a Zurich-bound Swissair flight from Harare on March 7. Adam said he will sentence the men on Monday. They face up to life imprisonment.

16 Killed in Nigerian Port Violence

LAGOS, Nigeria--Nigerian police said 16 people were killed during rioting on Thursday at the port in Lagos, but normal shipping there has resumed.

Fighting erupted at the port after fired members of the Maritime Workers Union tried to return to work by force with help from militants linked to the ethnic Yoruba separatist Odudua Peoples' Congress.

THE AMERICAS

U.S. Returns Money to Mexican Bank

MONTERREY, Mexico--A Mexican bank said U.S. authorities have given back $1.7 million seized from the bank last year in a sting operation aimed at cracking money laundering operations involving Mexican bankers.

U.S. authorities seized $1.4 million from Grupo Financiero Banorte and $260,000 from its Banpais unit in the sting known as Operation Casablanca. In July, the U.S. Justice Department withdrew the action it filed against Banorte, agreeing to return the funds. No criminal charges were filed.

Haitians Sue Exiled Dictator

PARIS--Four lawsuits alleging crimes against humanity were filed in a French court against former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier, Justice Ministry sources said.

Duvalier is believed to live in France, although his exact whereabouts are unknown.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"They are afraid to show their face. It could cost them their lives."

-- Agapitus Prasetya, Indonesian UNICEF worker describing witnesses to attacks on East Timorese