THE AMERICAS

Mexicans Protest Lack of Flood Aid

VILLAHERMOSA, Mexico--Furious that the government has not done more to help them, hundreds of people in Tabasco's flooded capital clashed with police, who beat and arrested many of them.

President Ernesto Zedillo, who has called the flooding Mexico's worst disaster in a decade, toured the stricken areas on Friday and Saturday and pledged to send more civilian and military personnel to help the victims throughout states along the Gulf of Mexico. "We won't fail you," he promised Saturday.

But in Villahermosa, a city of 465,000 people 400 miles east of Mexico City, many were not willing to accept promises. Much of the city has been under water for a week, and the water was rising.

Authorities around the country reported more than 400 dead, but more are still missing.

New Peruvian Prime Minister Named

LIMA, Peru--President Alberto Fujimori named lawyer Alberto Bustamante as his new prime minister in a surprise appointment that followed the resignation of his top cabinet official on Saturday.

Fujimori defied political analysts' predictions by overlooking veteran officials and selecting Bustamante as cabinet chief for the last six months of his term, replacing Victor Joy Way, who was premier and economy minister. The president did not name a new economy chief.

Bustamante, 49, is best known in Peru for defending the Andean nation in cases before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. In July, Fujimori decided to withdraw Peru from the jurisdiction of the court, which is an arm of the Organization of American States.

EUROPE

Berlin Election Returns Show Small Shift

BERLIN--Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats recovered from a string of losses and held their own in local elections in Berlin, according to television exit polls.

The conservative Christian Democrats, led by Berlin mayor Eberhard Diepgen, posted gains in the German capital and remained the dominant party in local government, exit polls showed. At a time when Schroeder's austerity plans have unsettled Germans, Berliners appeared to opt for the more reassuring figure.

Forecasts based on early returns put the Christian Democrats at about 40 percent, a gain of 3 percentage points over the last election four years ago, and the Social Democrats were in second place with just more than 22 percent, virtually unchanged from the last election.

Kremlin Says Yeltsin's Fever Is Down

MOSCOW--Russian President Boris Yeltsin received hospital treatment for the flu and his temperature was returning to normal, the Kremlin said. The president, who was hospitalized Saturday, has been plagued by health problems in recent years. Each illness has renewed speculation over whether he is fit enough to lead Russia.

Presidential spokesman Dmitri Yakushkin said that Yeltsin was receiving treatment and his fever was falling, according to the Interfax news agency. Yakushkin did not provide details on the treatment or say when the president might be released from Moscow's Central Clinical Hospital.

Socialists Retain Power in Portugal

LISBON--Portuguese voters returned the Socialists to power but the party fell just short of the absolute majority in parliament that it sought.

The Socialists, who campaigned for a clear majority to ensure political stability, won 113 seats, one more seat than they previously held in the 230-seat body but three short of an absolute majority. The main losers were the conservative Social Democrats, who dropped to 83 seats from 88.

As leader of the party that won the most votes, Prime Minister Antonio Guterres will be asked to form a new government.

British Rail Company Loses Safety Role

LONDON--Railtrack, the company that runs Britain's railway infrastructure, will be stripped of its role as overseer of safety following last week's fatal train crash in London, the government said.

"Every company has a responsibility for safety, but we do see a conflict of interest here," said Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, who also holds the transport portfolio.

At least 40 people died in the rush-hour collision on Tuesday about two miles west of London's Paddington Station.

AFRICA

Nigeria to Charge Former Dictator's Aides

ABUJA, Nigeria--Security aides and a son of late Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha are to be charged this week for alleged crimes committed when he was in power, the presidency said.

President Olusegun Obasanjo's spokesman Doyin Okupe said Mohammed Abacha, Hamza Mustapha, former head of the dictator's personal security, and several others would be charged with as yet unspecified crimes.

Local newspapers quoting police sources said the suspects in detention were going to be charged in connection with the killings of some of Abacha's political opponents.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"There is no honest reason for being offshore. Bank secrecy and the offshore money industry have no place in a globalized economy."

-- Jack Blum, a money laundering expert who studies offshore havens, Page A1

CAPTION: Marco Gonzalez tells Mexican soldiers where to look for victims of mudslides caused by massive flooding in the city of Teziutlan.