THE MIDDLE EAST

U.S. Plans Upgrade of Kuwaiti Bases

KUWAIT CITY--Defense Secretary William S. Cohen said here yesterday the United States plans a $173 million upgrade of two air bases and an army camp it has been using in Kuwait.

Under a 10-year defense agreement reached after the 1991 Persian Gulf War, about 4,000 American troops are stationed in Kuwait, ready to defend the small country from neighboring Iraq.

Israeli Museum Pulls Controversial Art

JERUSALEM--Israel's Haifa Museum of Arts said that protests by Arab Christians forced it to cancel an exhibit in which a naked woman was to appear tied to a wooden cross.

Youths from the Sons of the Church movement demonstrated on Friday before the exhibit was due to open. Haifa's mayor canceled the show, and the protesters asked for the cross, took it to the street and burned it.

The exhibit by an Israeli artist reportedly was meant to show women as this millennium's victims. Men would have shot paint bullets at the naked woman, a 23-year-old Israeli model.

AFRICA

Tunisian President's Reelection Likely

TUNIS--President Zine Abidine Ben Ali and his ruling party were expected to win general elections in Tunisia.

Some 3.3 million people are registered to vote in the presidential and parliamentary elections. Results are to be announced today.

Two moderate opponents, Mohamed Belhaj Amor and Abderrahmen Tlili, have for the first time been allowed to challenge the president in what is seen as largely symbolic opposition.

EUROPE

Russian Troops in Kosovo Protested

ORAHOVAC, Yugoslavia--Some 4,000 ethnic Albanians gathered to reaffirm their refusal to allow Russian peacekeepers to be stationed in this southern Kosovo town, two months after barricades went up to prevent their deployment.

The Russians were to replace Dutch forces in the region as part of the NATO-led peacekeeping force that entered Kosovo in June following a NATO bombing campaign. The bombing ended after Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic agreed to withdraw his forces.

Orahovac was the scene of fierce fighting during Milosevic's 18-month crackdown on ethnic Albanians, who have said Russian mercenaries committed atrocities when fighting alongside Serb forces.

ASIA

E. Timor Rebel Leader Meets With Troops

REMEXIO, East Timor--Guerrilla chief Xanana Gusmao made his first visit to his fighters since returning to East Timor, praising them for their courage in the struggle for independence. Rebel soldiers wiped away tears as they listened.

Gusmao arrived by U.S. helicopter in the mountain town of Remexio, where the guerrillas have their headquarters, with soldiers from the multinational peacekeeping force keeping close watch over him.

He was captured by Indonesian authorities in 1992, but continued to lead the rebels while in jail and then under house arrest in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.

China's Jiang Warns Human Rights Critics

PARIS--Chinese President Jiang Zemin has assured France his country will move steadily toward democracy but warned outsiders not to interfere over human rights.

Jiang, who has been dogged by human rights protesters during a week of travel in Britain and France, said in an interview with Le Figaro newspaper that it was up to individual nations to deal with their own internal matters.

"The problem of human rights in every country, large or small, powerful or weak, should be settled by their own governments with the support of their people," he was quoted as saying.

Treasury Official, Chinese Premier Meet

LANZHOU, China--Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers and Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji discussed economic issues and China's campaign to enter the World Trade Organization in almost three hours of talks that Summers said were "very useful."

Zhu told Summers that China remains committed to reforming ailing state-owned enterprises. They also discussed how Chinese entry to the WTO, which makes rules for global trade, would benefit both countries, Summers said.

Legendary Mt. Everest Guide RetiresKATMANDU, Nepal--A legendary mountain guide who has climbed Mount Everest a record 10 times announced his retirement. Ang Rita's feat of 10 trips to the summit of the 29,028-foot-high Everest was equaled by Appa Sherpa, 40, in May.

Ang Rita, 51, was hospitalized last week in the Nepalese capital after being flown by helicopter from his village, Thame, in the foothills of Mount Everest. Doctors are treating him for suspected tuberculosis.

"Everyone has suggested to me not to climb mountains any more. Moreover, I am sick and tired and old enough to retire," he said.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"We're not just making wine, you know. Champagne carries the values of civilization."

Pierre Cheval, French Champagne maker

CAPTION: Ethnic Albanians gather in Orahovac to reaffirm their refusal to allow Russian peacekeepers to be stationed in their southern Kosovo town.