EUROPE

Croatians Pay Final Respects to Tudjman

ZAGREB, Croatia--Only the occasional tolling of church bells broke an eerie silence in Zagreb yesterday as residents mourned President Franjo Tudjman with prayers and candles.

The city center, usually packed with shoppers and strollers, was almost deserted except for mourners filing up a hill in a column a mile long to pay their respects and sign a book of condolences.

An official at the presidential palace, where Tudjman was laid out in state, said 35,000 people had visited his bier.

"He meant a lot to me, gave me a state and freedom. What more does one need?" said Senka Maloca, 38, sobbing as she left with two small children.

Other people came in twos and threes to light candles and lay flowers in front of St. Mark's church on Zagreb's historic Upper Town mound, seat of the government and parliament. Tudjman, a former Communist general who steered his nation of 5 million to independence from Yugoslavia and became its first popularly elected leader, died Friday at age 77 after six weeks of treatment for abdominal disorders.

Portuguese Plane Crashes in Azores

LISBON--A Portuguese passenger plane with 35 people on board slammed into a mountain in the remote mid-Atlantic Azores islands, and rescue officials said there was virtually no hope of survivors.

The twin-engine turboprop operated by Sata airlines crashed on the island of Sao Jorge shortly before it was due to land on the nearby island of Faial on a flight from the archipelago's capital, Ponta Delgada.

The cause of the crash was not immediately known. Air traffic control officials said the pilot had issued no emergency call. Local officials said a heavy mist may have been a factor, but a spokesman for the islands' meteorologic institute said weather conditions along the plane's route were not particularly bad.

The Azores archipelago lies 1,000 miles from mainland Portugal.

Polish Officer Killed, 4 Injured in Kosovo

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia--A device that NATO peacekeepers confiscated from former Kosovo Albanian rebels exploded Saturday in the town of Djeneral Jankovic, killing a Polish army officer and wounding four others, Polish officials said.

In Warsaw, the Polish news agency PAP, quoting the defense ministry, said the device had been confiscated from the Kosovo Protection Corps when it exploded, killing the officer immediately.

Defense Ministry spokesman Eugeniusz Mleczak told PAP that three of the wounded were treated at a Polish military clinic and the fourth was transported to an American military clinic. None of their injuries were life-threatening, he said.

THE MIDDLE EAST

Aborted Landing Killed U.S. Servicemen

KUWAIT CITY--Three U.S. servicemen who died in a plane accident in Kuwait were killed in an aborted landing at an air base, the U.S. Embassy said.

After the aborted landing early Friday, the C-130 transport plane flew to Kuwait International Airport, where it made an emergency belly landing. Initial reports had said that was where the deaths occurred.

The three servicemen died from injuries received when their plane was "damaged attempting to land at an air base," an embassy statement said. The embassy did not name the military airport, but the al-Siyassa newspaper identified it as being the Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base, west of Kuwait City.

The embassy identified the three killed as Capt. Michael D. Geragosian of Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.; Airman 1st Class Benjamin T. Hall of F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo.; and Airman 1st Class Warren T. Willis of Offut Air Force Base, Neb. Their hometowns were not given.

THE AMERICAS

Mexicans Open University Strike Talks

MEXICO CITY--After 30 hours of talks, Mexican university leaders and striking students reached an agreement late Friday to open negotiations to end a dispute that has paralyzed classes for nearly eight months.

Authorities at Mexico's National Autonomous University and leaders of the student strike council agreed that public dialogue was the only solution to a strike that began in April to protest an end to effectively free tuition.

The strike has affected 270,000 students at the school and another 200,000 professors, researchers and white and blue-collar employees.

Students declared the strike on April 20 to protest against the fee hike to $60 a semester from $0.02, saying the principle of free higher education in Mexico had been breached.

Officials quickly dropped the tuition hike proposal but the strike continued, with students shifting their demands to other concerns such as automatic admission for students from designated high schools and other changes to benefit poor students.

ASIA

Sri Lankan Troops Kill 230 Rebels

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka--Sri Lankan troops killed more than 230 Tamil Tiger rebels in repulsing an attack on a key military camp, the defense ministry said, but the rebels put their losses at just 15.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebels struck at government lines on the eastern side of the Elephant Pass camp using artillery and mortars, a ministry statement said.

With air force and navy support, troops drove back rebel attempts to penetrate the camp's defenses and also stopped guerrillas in boats from landing near the military base, the statement said.

The rebels have been fighting for a separate homeland for minority Tamils in Sri Lanka's north and east since 1983 in a war that has claimed more than 55,000 lives.

Quake Rocks Main Philippine Island

MANILA--An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.8 hit the northern Philippines, rocking much of the main island of Luzon early today and sending residents rushing out of their beds into the streets.

In Manila, buildings swayed dramatically, knocking objects off tables and shelves. Power was out in parts of the city and surrounding areas. Patients were evacuated from at least one hospital to the parking lot.

Rescue teams were placed on alert, but only minor injuries and damage were reported.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

"We're burying people faster than we can replace them."

-- Timothy Stamps, Zimbabwe's health minister, on the effect of the AIDS epidemic on his country's economy.