THE AMERICAS

Mexico City Mayor Quits for Campaign

MEXICO CITY--Cuauhtemoc Cardenas, who in 1997 became the first person in nearly 70 years to be elected mayor of Mexico City, said he was stepping down in order to run for president.

Cardenas, 65, a twice failed presidential candidate who many Mexicans believe had the 1988 election taken from him fraudulently, formally launched his third presidential bid earlier this month. The general election is set for July 2, 2000.

Peasants Killed by Colombian Guerrillas

BOGOTA, Colombia--Ultra-right-wing gunmen massacred at least six peasants and abducted six others in a raid on a farming community in war-torn northwest Colombia, officials said.

The killings, which took place Monday near the village of Guadalupe in Antioquia province, followed a mass slaying in northeastern Colombia.

In that attack, at least seven people were slain before dawn by unidentified gunmen in a working class neighborhood of Barrancabermeja, the main oil-refining town in Santander province.

ASIA

Viacom Head Derides 'Offensive' News

SHANGHAI--International news organizations should report the truth but avoid being "unnecessarily offensive" to foreign governments, the head of the company poised to take over CBS said. The comments by Sumner M. Redstone, the chairman of Viacom Inc., were significant in light of both Viacom's impending purchase of CBS and the venue--a forum of global business leaders in China.

As they expand their global reach, media companies must be aware "of the politics and attitudes of the governments where we operate," Redstone said at a news conference at the Fortune Global Forum.

"Journalistic integrity must prevail in the final analysis," he said. "But that doesn't mean that journalistic integrity should be exercised in a way that is unnecessarily offensive to the countries in which you operate."

North, South Korea Battle in Basketball

SEOUL--Rivals South Korea and North Korea set their Cold War animosities aside for a few hours as their athletes met on a North Korean basketball court for their first goodwill games in nine years.

The two games in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang marked the first nongovernmental sports exchanges between the two Koreas. They are still technically at war because no peace treaty was signed at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

The games were sponsored by South Korea's largest conglomerate, Hyundai, and North Korea's Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, a quasi-governmental body.

EUROPE

Pinochet's Lawyers Deride Charges

LONDON--Torture charges filed against former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet cannot be tied to him, and some of them amount to little more than "low-level" police brutality, Pinochet's lawyers argued.

During the second day of a hearing to determine whether Spanish prosecutors can extradite the 83-year-old retired general, Pinochet's lawyers also contended Spain has no authority to try him because neither he nor his alleged victims are Spanish.

"The essential allegation against Sen. Pinochet is that tortures were committed in Chile as part of a policy that began around the time" he seized power in a 1973 coup, said Julian B. Knowles, a lawyer for Pinochet. "We say it is plain that having a mere policy doesn't make you liable."

Thousands of Chechens Flee Air Raids

MAKHACHKALA, Russia--Areas around the war-torn region of Chechnya faced a humanitarian crisis as tens of thousands of frightened Chechens fled a sixth day of Russian airstrikes.

Chechen officials said eight people were killed when a schoolhouse was bombed in the village of Staraya Sunzha on the outskirts of Grozny, the capital, the Russian Tass news agency reported. The military said the raids also hit a television station, oil derricks and industrial facilities.

Chechnya-based Islamic rebels have twice invaded neighboring Dagestan in recent weeks, and are blamed by Moscow for a series of apartment explosions in Russian that killed some 300 people this month. Russia says its air campaign is aimed at the rebels, not at Chechnya's government or people.

Costs of Danube Closure Are Mounting

BUDAPEST, Hungary--The Danube River, blocked to traffic by Yugoslav bridges downed during the NATO bombing campaign, will remain closed through the winter, and it will cost between $15.7 million and $31.5 million to reopen it, the Danube Commission said. The commission said private shippers were losing far more.

"Environmental damage of considerable consequence goes far beyond what it would cost the international community to clear the bridges and reestablish navigation," Hellmuth Strasser, head of the commission's secretariat, told reporters after a meeting of the 11-country commission.

THE MIDDLE EAST

Turks Continue Hard Line Against Kurds

ANKARA, Turkey--Turkey's powerful armed forces rejected recent peace overtures from the country's Kurdish guerrillas and vowed they would continue military operations against the rebels. In a statement, the armed forces dampened expectations that a peaceful settlement to the Kurds' 15-year insurgency might be achieved. At least 20 rebels with the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party were said to be negotiating over the weekend with U.N. officials in northern Iraq to secure their safe passage to Turkey, after volunteering to surrender to Turkish security forces in a show of goodwill.

But sources close to the rebels said the group had frozen its plans after what they termed "consistently negative signals" from Turkish authorities. "Hard-liners on both sides," said one, "appear to be winning the day."

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"The government is in a bind in China. Marxism is finished. Westernization means democracy. But nationalism and traditional culture open other Pandora's boxes as well."

-- Li Fan, an independent scholar in Beijing.