Greek Leftists Protest Clinton Visit

ATHENS--Thousands of Greek leftists marched to the U.S. Embassy in Athens yesterday to protest a scheduled visit later this week by President Clinton.

Shouting "Clinton, fascist murderer" and waving red communist banners, the protesters marched from the city center to the embassy, where they set fire to a U.S. flag.

Hundreds of police in full riot gear lined the streets outside the embassy. The protesters chanted anti-NATO slogans and "Clinton learn, this people won't bend!" before dispersing peacefully.

Clinton was scheduled to visit Greece this weekend but shortened and postponed his visit to Nov. 19 because of security concerns after leftist protests and bomb explosions. Many Greeks are angry with the United States about this year's NATO campaign in Yugoslavia to end Serbian atrocities against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. Greeks have long been close to Serbs because both are Orthodox Christians.

U.N. Mission Mourns Crash in Kosovo

PLANA, Yugoslavia--The U.N. mission in Kosovo was in mourning after a plane bringing aid workers from Rome crashed on a remote mountain ridge in the province, killing all 24 people aboard.

Mission chief Bernard Kouchner expressed his condolences to the families of the 12 Italians, three Spaniards, two Britons and seven people of other nationalities who died on the flight to Pristina chartered by the U.N. World Food Program. No Americans were on the flight.

Troops from the NATO-led peacekeeping force found the wreckage of the twin propeller ATR-42 plane Friday night, almost 12 hours after it was reported missing, seven miles from the northern city of Mitrovica.

Three of the victims were crew members. The 21 passengers included workers from nongovernmental organizations and U.N. agencies, staff from the mission and police officers taking time out from their regular jobs to be part of Kosovo's international force, Kouchner said.

Experts from France, Italy and Britain were due to arrive yesterday to begin investigating the crash, the United Nations said.

Italian Apartment Collapse Death Toll 52

FOGGIA, Italy--Searchers found bodies near the stairwell of a collapsed apartment building in southern Italy, raising the death toll to 52 in the country's worst building collapse in decades. Ten people were still missing from Thursday's disaster.

The number of victims found in the area where the building's stairwell used to be "makes us think that those people were running downstairs to get out of the building, evidently warned by the shaking," said Luigi Panarese, a fire department official in Foggia, 80 miles northeast of Naples.

Survivors said the building shook for two or three minutes before it fell, giving some people enough time to run door to door to alert their neighbors. Sixteen people escaped or were rescued. The cause of the collapse remains undetermined.


Mexican University President Resigns

MEXICO CITY--Battered by a seven-month student strike that seemingly nothing--not even capitulation--could end, the president of Mexico's main university has resigned.

Francisco Barnes de Castro, president of the 268,000-student National Autonomous University of Mexico, submitted his resignation Friday.

A tuition increase proposed by Barnes prompted students to take over buildings at the university, known as UNAM, on April 20. Barnes had won approval for the first increase in 50 years, raising tuition from the equivalent of a few cents to $140 annually.

In June, Barnes backed down and agreed to make the increase voluntary. But by then, the strike had exploded into a sometimes-violent battle over academic standards, the right to a free university education and Mexico's movement toward a free-market economy.

Cuba Blasts Washington 'Meddling'

HAVANA--Cuba accused the United States of interfering in this week's Iberian-American summit meeting in Havana, lambasting an appeal from Washington to visiting leaders to push President Fidel Castro toward political reform.

Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque, speaking in indignant and mocking tones at a news conference before the summit, also said the United States was instigating dissident activity in a bid to discredit the gathering.

"Those who are not invited to the party should shut their mouths and go and play their music elsewhere," he said.

Cuba has high expectations for the event, which brings together the leaders of Spain, Portugal and Latin American countries Monday and Tuesday in the only country in the Americas under Communist rule.

Roque read a letter from U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright to the presidents saying they had an obligation to speak up for democracy and human rights in Cuba at the summit. Roque called the letter "a show of meddling."

Ecuador Grants U.S. Use of Air Base

QUITO--Ecuador has agreed to let the United States use one of its air bases for 10 years as part of regional efforts to crack down on drug trafficking.

Under the deal, signed by Foreign Minister Benjamin Ortiz, unarmed U.S. surveillance planes will operate from the Manta military air base on Ecuador's coast. The U.S. aircraft will only be permitted to carry out anti-drug operations.

As part of the deal, the United States, Ecuador's largest trading partner, will invest $70 million in the Manta air base over the course of the pact.

Top U.S. anti-drug official Barry R. McCaffrey has said Ecuador is increasingly being used as a transit point for shipments of drugs from Bolivia, Peru and Colombia to the United States and Europe.


Iranian Reformists Nominate Candidate

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates--A reformist group in Iran has nominated former interior minister Abdollah Nouri, currently on trial on charges of political and religious dissent, to run in the upcoming parliamentary elections, a newspaper reported.

The moderate Militant Clerics Society nominated him to run in February's parliamentary elections, the daily Asr-e Azadegan reported. The group nominated Nouri just hours before a hard-line clerical jury recommended that he be found guilty, said the newspaper, which is monitored in Dubai.

Nouri, a close ally of moderate President Mohammed Khatemi, would be banned from running if he is found guilty by the Special Court for Clergy. The court has said it will take the jury's recommendation into consideration and issue a ruling in Nouri's case soon.


"Allah take my life, just spare my daughter."

-- Gulsah Medencioglu, Turkish earthquake survivor