ASIA

India and Pakistan Battle in Kashmir

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan--India and Pakistan blamed each other yesterday for an outbreak of fighting along the Kashmiri border that has shattered a relative calm between the nuclear rivals.

It was the first reported clash along the disputed border since a military regime took power in Islamabad last month and made apparently conciliatory gestures toward India. India and Pakistan alarmed the world this summer by waging large-scale artillery battles and air raids over the remote Himalayan region.

E. Timor Refugees Held Captive, U.N. Says

JAKARTA, Indonesia--Armed militias are blocking most of the 200,000 East Timorese refugees still in western Timor from returning home, a U.N. spokesman said. Many East Timorese are being forced to remain in camps that lack food, sanitation and medical care, said Yusuf Hassan, spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

Afghanis Demonstrate Against Sanctions

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan--Thousands of demonstrators in southern Afghanistan pelted U.N. offices with stones and burned U.S. flags to protest pending U.N. sanctions against the Taliban government.

The sanctions will take effect Sunday unless the Taliban hand over suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden to the United States or a third country to stand trial on charges that he masterminded the twin bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa last year.

The Taliban say they will not hand over bin Laden, who recently offered to leave Afghanistan for a secret destination known only to the Taliban's supreme leader, Mohammad Omar. The United States rejected that proposal.

India Copes With Cyclone Carnage

ERSAMA, India--The death count from India's cyclone topped 7,600, and villagers began burning rotting corpses and animal carcasses in exchange for food and money. But thousands of bodies remained unattended.

The exchange of work for food in disaster areas, not new to India, was put into effect by Christian missionaries with help from the Indian army in a small part of the hardest-hit Jagatsinghpur district. Authorities said relief has finally reached every part of the 300-mile coastal stretch battered by the Oct. 29 cyclone in the eastern state of Orissa.

Correspondents in Beijing Issue Protest

BEIJING--The Foreign Correspondents' Club of China issued a protest against what it called official "intimidation and harassment" linked to coverage of the Falun Gong spiritual movement.

The Foreign Ministry and security forces maintain that foreign journalists who covered a secret news conference on Oct. 28 had engaged in "illegal reporting." The journalists, from several organizations including Reuters, the New York Times and the Associated Press, say they have been followed, detained, interrogated and threatened.

EUROPE

Fire Damages Former Soviet KGB Building

MOSCOW--A fire today damaged the lower floors of the Lubyanka building, the security police headquarters beneath which the Soviet-era KGB had its interrogation and execution cells. The Russian Tass news agency quoted a police spokesman as saying the fire started on the second floor of the six-story building in central Moscow. Employees of the Russian Federal Security Service, one of the successors to the KGB, were evacuated, and four were injured, Tass said. Lubyanka became the headquarters of the security service soon after the 1918 Bolshevik revolution.

Chechen Refugees Appeal for Help

SLEPTSOVSKAYA, Russia--Angry and frightened Chechen refugees pleaded for help as international officials toured a tent city where thousands of people huddled in freezing cold and snow.

"They are killing us both morally and physically," one woman shouted to the delegation from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

As many as 200,000 people have fled the fighting in Chechnya since September, many of them now living in tents in the neighboring Russian region of Ingushetia.

Milosevic Allies Curb Opposition Power

BELGRADE--In a move certain to heighten political tensions, allies of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic passed a law curbing opposition-run municipal governments. The legislation, which limits the authority of the local governments and assemblies, was overwhelmingly approved in the Serbian parliament, controlled by Milosevic's Socialist Party and its ultranationalist and neo-Communist political partners.

U.N. Official Reports on Kosovo Graves

UNITED NATIONS--International investigators have unearthed more than 2,100 bodies from 195 graves across Kosovo and believe that the majority were victims of a Serbian campaign of ethnic cleansing, the U.N.'s chief war crimes prosecutor said.

Carla del Ponte said Serbian forces tried to hide the killings, digging up some mass graves shortly before NATO occupied the province in June. But she also said that there are some Serbs among the dead, and that her office is looking into possible war crimes by members of the Kosovo Liberation Army.

Armenian Legislator Charged in Killings

YEREVAN, Armenia--An Armenian lawmaker has been arrested and charged with helping organize the Oct. 27 attack on parliament in which the prime minister and seven other officials were killed. Musheg Movsesian, who was detained Friday, was brought to parliament under heavy police guard and taken away in handcuffs after the other deputies voted overwhelming to revoke his parliamentary immunity.

THE MIDDLE EAST

Barak Approves W. Bank Troop Pullback

JERUSALEM--Forced to choose between Jewish settlers and Palestinian demands, Prime Minister Ehud Barak kept Israel's commitment to the Palestinians, approving a troop pullback from 5 percent of the West Bank and sending soldiers to drag Jews off an illegal hilltop encampment.

The land handover, to take place Monday, will leave a smattering of West Bank settlements isolated and surrounded by Palestinian-controlled territory.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"She's damned if she does and damned if she doesn't."

-- An Israeli official on Hillary Rodham Clinton --Page A38