THE AMERICAS

Haitian Security Chief Resigns

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti--Haiti's secretary of state for public security, Robert Manuel, one of the targets of violent protests this year, has handed in his resignation, government officials said yesterday.

Manuel, along with police chief Pierre Denize, were the focus of tire-burning, rock-throwing protests in April and May led by Lavalas, a political party founded by former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Lavalas party supporters said Manuel and Denize had failed to stop rising crime in the impoverished Caribbean nation of 6.6 million.

Colombian Rebels Kill 4 Soldiers BOGOTA, Colombia--At least four Colombian soldiers were killed and two more were wounded in a battle with Marxist rebels bent on hampering repair work on a bomb-damaged section of one of the country's key crude oil pipelines, government authorities said.

There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack on the pipeline, but military sources said it was thought to have been carried out by the Cuban-inspired National Liberation Army, Colombia's second-largest guerrilla group.

Guatemalan Court Condemns 4 Militiamen

GUATEMALA CITY--Three former members of army-organized civilian defense patrols have been sentenced to death for taking part in massacres during the height of the country's civil war.

A court in Salama, about 35 miles north of the capital, restored death sentences imposed on Fermin Lajuj, Pedro Gonzalez Gomez and Carlos Chen for their parts in the 1982 massacres at Rio Negro and Agua Frio. The initial death sentence following a 1998 trial was annulled by an appeals court, which ordered a new trial.

EUROPE

Experts Suggest London Train Ran Light

LONDON--The fatal collision of two packed commuter trains in central London this week was probably caused by one of the trains running a red light, investigators said in their initial report.

As the search for bodies in the wreckage continued, police revised the likely death toll downward to about 40 from earlier estimates of up to 127 as people who had been reported missing, and possibly on the train, were found to be safe.

Chechens Say Airstrike Killed Villagers

GROZNY, Russia--A Russian air attack on a Chechen village caught people by surprise Thursday, reportedly killing dozens. In Elistanzhi, a village in the mountains near Chechnya's southern border, the streets were filled with sobbing yesterday as villagers collected body parts of the victims, witnesses said.

Villagers said Russian planes attacked Elistanzhi, 30 miles southeast of Grozny, the Chechen capital, over a two-hour period around midday Muslim prayers. A local prefect said 29 people had been killed, while a spokesman for the rebels said 32 died. A top Russian general in Moscow denied recent reports of civilian deaths in Russia's raids on Chechnya.

5 Germans Confess Attack on U.S. Troops

BERLIN--German police detained five young men suspected of attacking five U.S. Army musicians in the eastern town of Prenzlau after giving a Nazi salute. Police in the town of Eberswalde said the five suspects, aged 21 to 25, had all confessed.

German General Takes Over Kosovo Force

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia--Gen. Klaus Reinhardt of Germany took command of the 50,000-strong KFOR peacekeeping force, urging the people of Kosovo to learn from the history of countries taking part in the multinational operation.

British Lt. Gen. Mike Jackson handed over to Reinhardt in a ceremony widely viewed as symbolizing Germany's increasing willingness to cast off post-World War II reticence and assume a higher military profile within the NATO alliance.

AFRICA

Algerian Rebels Slaughter 8, Kidnap Girl

ALGIERS--Radical Muslim rebels have slashed the throats of eight people from the same family and kidnapped a teenage girl in a remote Algerian town, residents said.

The massacre, the worst since Algerians overwhelmingly endorsed a peace plan in a referendum held last month, took place on Thursday night at an isolated farm in the small town of Douira, just 25 miles west of the capital, Algiers.

Sierra Leone Rebel Leader Urges Peace

LUNGI, Sierra Leone--The leader of Sierra Leone's rebel movement called on disarmed rebel fighters to stand by the peace accord that is bringing him into a power-sharing government.

"Now the people are crying for peace. Now is the time to give peace to the people," Foday Sankoh told a cheering crowd of nearly 800 demobilized fighters from his Revolutionary United Front and their allies in Sierra Leone's former junta. The rebels waged an eight-year civil war against the elected government, killing tens of thousands of civilians before a peace treaty was signed in July.

ASIA

Vajpayee Consults Allies on Indian Cabinet

NEW DELHI--Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee summoned his victorious allies for their first consultation on the shape of the next government, which could take power as early as next week.

Having swept elections on a less virulent platform than his previous one of fierce nationalism, Vajpayee gathered leaders from most of his coalition parties to begin parceling out Cabinet posts and rewarding them for handing Sonia Gandhi's long-dominant Congress party its worst defeat.

Company Head Resigns Over Nuclear Leak

TOKYO--A former president of the company blamed for Japan's worst nuclear accident resigned from a government-affiliated organization to express remorse for the radiation leak.

Toshiki Takagi served as president from June 1995 until June of this year of JCO Co., which ran the uranium-processing plant where the accident occurred, Kyodo News service reported. Takagi also quit his more recent job as president of the Metal Mining Agency of Japan, Kyodo said.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "It sounded like a thunderclap of dynamite. Everybody was screaming." -- Carmen Lopez, describing a mudslide that crashed down on the Mexican town of Teziutlan--Page A1.