ASIA

Thousands Flee Clashes in Indonesia

AMBON, Indonesia--Fearing a resurgence of the religious clashes that have claimed nearly 1,000 lives in the Spice Islands of eastern Indonesia in the past two weeks, thousands of people fled their homes and were wandering in search of shelter.

Hundreds of soldiers patrolled the streets yesterday in the divided city of Ambon, the capital of Maluku province. In nearby North Maluku, refugees continued to pour into the city of Ternate, fearing violence on surrounding islands, said Col. Didik Setiyadi, commander of Ambon's Halong naval base.

In Jakarta 1,600 miles to the west, Vice President Megawati Sukarnoputri defended herself against accusations that she has not done enough to stop the fighting. She said the people in the region must make peace "their own responsibility," according to the official Antara news agency.

Army Chief Envisions Limited Korea Probe

SEOUL--The United States will not investigate "every firefight, every battle" of the 1950-53 Korean War, despite allegations that U.S. forces killed unarmed civilians in dozens of incidents, Army Secretary Louis Caldera said in an Associated Press interview.

U.S. investigators are already devoting extraordinary resources to the allegations of a mass killing of several hundred refugees by U.S. soldiers at No Gun Ri, South Korea, in the early weeks of the conflict, Caldera said. Since those allegations became public, South Koreans have accused U.S. troops of more than 30 other mass killings of civilians.

Caldera, who is here as part of the investigation, said it is not possible to examine every incident of the war in detail. All loss of life was regrettable, he said, but he emphasized the need to establish whether any civilians were killed intentionally.

"The question is not one of going back to try to identify every incident in which someone claims there was a lost of innocent lives," he said. "If you begin down that path, you'll never end because all war by definition is extremely violent." He said investigators are making "very good progress" in reviewing U.S. government archives but that they had found nothing "conclusive."

Freed Rebel Vows to Build Kashmir Force

BHAWALPUR, Pakistan--A Muslim cleric freed last month by India in return for hostages on a hijacked plane vowed to recruit a half-million men to fight Indian rule in the disputed territory of Kashmir.

Speaking to thousands of people at an Eid al-Fitr ceremony marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, Maulana Masood Azhar outlined plans to organize a force of 500,000 holy warriors "to fight against the Indians." He said the force would be recruited from all over Pakistan but gave no other details.

He also denied reports that he had called for aggression against the United States in a speech in Karachi last week. "I have not given any such statement . . . against America," he said. In that speech to hundreds of people outside a mosque in a Karachi suburb, Azhar called for a jihad, or holy war, in Kashmir.

Uzbek Leader Likely to Win Reelection

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan--Uzbek President Islam Karimov appeared to be ensured reelection as voters went to the polls and his only rival said even he had cast his vote for Karimov.

"There is no doubt that in today's presidential election, the current President Islam Karimov will win," Central Election Commission chairman Nazhmiddin Kamilov said as vote counting got underway. Almost 93 percent of the 12.7 million eligible voters cast ballots.

Despite his popularity at home, Karimov's tough leadership style and cautious economic policies have isolated the Central Asian country of 24 million from the West in the past four years. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe declined to send observers on the grounds that authorities had done little to offer voters "genuine choice" in the former Soviet republic.

THE AMERICAS

Argentines Charged With Taking Babies

BUENOS AIRES--Six retired naval officers were arrested Friday on charges of kidnapping children born to dissidents during the 1976-83 dictatorship. They are suspected of taking 12 babies from political opponents held captive at a military base. Some are accused of illegally adopting babies.

Estela de Carlotto, president of Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, a human rights group, called the arrests a significant step toward bringing the leaders of the former military junta to justice. Many of the junta's former leaders are already under house arrest.

Officials are investigating whether there was a systematic plan for the illicit adoption of more than 200 children born during the military's seven-year campaign against leftists and political opponents.

EUROPE

Lloyd Webber Buys 10 London Theaters

LONDON--Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber is set to become the leading landlord in London's theater district after teaming up with a lending firm to buy 10 theaters in a deal worth $143 million.

Among the theaters involved are the famed Palladium, Garrick, Her Majesty's and Theater Royal. Lloyd Webber already owns the Adelphi, the Palace and the New London.

Lloyd Webber said in a television interview that his main purpose in buying the theaters was to keep them out of the hands of people who are more interested in profits than in creativity. "I think a lot of people have been worried the group would fall into the hands of . . . money men," he said. "The thing about theater is that you have to take risks."

He said he would not try to pack the theaters with his own long-running hit musicals--such as "Phantom of the Opera," "Cats" and "Evita"--but added that does expect to earn a profit from the transaction.

THE MIDDLE EAST

Iraq Says Western Raids Hurt 3 Civilians

BAGHDAD, Iraq--Western warplanes injured three people in raids in southern Iraq, Iraqi media reported..

"The enemy attacked our service and civilian installations, and the hostile bombing led to the injury of three civilian citizens," the official Iraqi News Agency and Iraqi state-run television quoted military spokesmen as saying.

They reported that the British and U.S. warplanes flew over six provinces before returning to bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait after being "intercepted" by Iraqi antiaircraft forces.

Almost daily, U.S. and British planes patrol "no-fly" zones over northern and southern Iraq that were imposed by the West after the 1991 Gulf War. There was no immediate confirmation of the Iraqi report by London or Washington.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"The United States should be ashamed of [the contamination] it left behind. What a legacy."

-- Fernando Manfredo, a Panamanian who helped preside over a U.S.-Panama working group on the cleanup of munitions in the Panama Canal Zone --Page A14