Tribunal to Focus on Yugoslav Leaders

THE HAGUE--Carla del Ponte, the new U.N. war crimes prosecutor, set out her strategy on Kosovo on yesterday, narrowing her investigation to Yugoslavia's leaders and the perpetrators of only the most heinous crimes.

The local justice system in Kosovo, under the aegis of the United Nations, would try cases that fall outside the scope of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, as defined by her, Del Ponte said in a statement.

For example, nine Serbs arrested in Kosovo over the weekend by French, Dutch and German troops would not be brought to The Hague, prosecution spokesman Paul Risley explained, although the tribunal would assist any local investigation.

"The primary focus . . . must be the investigation and prosecution of the five leaders of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Republic of Serbia who have already been indicted," wrote Del Ponte, a former Swiss attorney general.

Prosecutors have publicly indicted Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and four associates, including Serbian President Milan Milutinovic, for alleged crimes in Kosovo.

Russia Asks U.S. for More Food Aid

MOSCOW--Russia is experiencing another poor grain harvest and is requesting an extra 5 million tons of food aid from the United States, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman said this week.

Although Russia predicts this year's crop will be 60 million tons, well above last year's disastrous 47.8 million, a 40-year low, the lack of carry-over stocks means it will not be able to feed itself next year, a U.S. government source in Moscow said.

Belarus Opposition Paper to Close

MINSK, Belarus--A leading opposition newspaper in Belarus said it was shutting down following a court order to pay an exorbitant fine to the minister of security over an article he said injured his reputation.

The Naviny newspaper, which has come under frequent pressure from Belarus's authoritarian government, said in its last issue that "both the suit and the trial were a cover-up for a carefully planned campaign by the authorities seeking to close down our newspaper."


Cuban Democracy Plan Presented

HAVANA--An opposition coalition presented a detailed plan for a peaceful transition to democracy in communist Cuba, with new freedoms for independent groups and an economy controlled by markets rather than the state.

In a lengthy document, the Reflective Roundtable of the Moderate Opposition said that the transition it envisions would be "a gradual, peaceful, thoughtful and deliberate process of changes, from one state of society to another."

The document, signed by members of the outlawed Democratic Solidarity and the Democratic Socialist Current political parties, was delivered last week to Cuba's Council of State, which is headed by President Fidel Castro.

Volcanic Ash Rains on Ecuador's Capital

QUITO, Ecuador--The southern part of of Ecuador's capital city Quito was covered with about an inch of ash as a nearby volcano began smoking and threatened to erupt.

Quito and the surrounding area was upgraded to "orange alert" Monday night under the threat of an eruption of the Guagua Pichincha volcano 7 1/2 miles from the city.


Japanese Cult Says It's Scaling Back

TOKYO--Bowing to fierce public pressure, the Japanese doomsday cult accused of a 1995 nerve gas attack on Tokyo subways said it would close its branches, stop recruiting and cease using its current name. But the Aum Shinrikyo group did not offer a public apology for the incident that killed 12 and left thousands ill, saying only it was considering its future in light of recent comments by cult leader Shoko Asahara.

Cult representative Tatsuko Muraoka told a packed news conference the group had decided to suspend most of its activities as a "temporary measure" because of strong public opposition and a recent police crackdown that had already forced them to close branch offices earlier this month.

Gunmen Attack Building in Kashmir

NEW DELHI--Gunmen fired grenade launchers at a heavily guarded state government building in Kashmir and killed a police officer in a gunfight, authorities said.

It was the first time since 1991 that militants had gotten close enough to the government building, called the Secretariat, to fire missiles onto the lawns. Police said the gunmen were within 500 yards of the building in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu-Kashmir state.

Four security officers were injured, along with a government clerk.


Turkish Troops Pursue Kurds in Iraq

TUNCELI, Turkey--Thousands of Turkish troops supported by air power have crossed into northern Iraq to hunt down Kurdish rebels who have vowed never to surrender, a senior Turkish military official said.

Some 5,000 troops crossed the border at three points on Monday to reinforce soldiers there, the official told the Reuters news service.

They attacked positions held by Kurdish Workers' Party forces loyal to rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan, who has been sentenced to death in Turkey.

Sex Charges Dropped Against German

TEHRAN--Charges of illicit sex that could have meant the death penalty for a German businessman in Iran have been dropped, defense lawyers and news reports said. Helmut Hofer had been condemned to death for allegedly having sex with a Muslim woman outside of marriage. His second retrial was adjourned, with a final verdict expected within a week.


"We believe that the size and resources of the American intelligence community are vastly overrepresented in our country and should be reduced in a big way."

-- A senior German diplomat, speaking after the United States recalled three CIA agents at Germany's request.