Cuba Detains Three Dissidents

HAVANA--Cuba detained two of the country's leading dissidents and jailed an anti-government journalist in an ongoing crackdown on internal opposition, dissidents said yesterday.

Police arrived at dawn at the Havana homes of leading moderate activists Oswaldo Paya and Hector Palacios and took them to an unknown destination. Both men took part in meetings with various foreign dignitaries at November's summit of Latin American, Spanish and Portuguese heads of state in Havana.

Separately, journalist Victor Arroyo lost an appeal and began a six-month prison sentence for "hoarding" toys he says were for poor children, independent news agencies reported.

Colombian Convicted of Killing American

BOGOTA, Colombia--A judge convicted a Bogota man of killing a U.S. drug agent following a November 1998 barroom argument and sentenced him to 30 years in prison, the man's attorney said.

Jorge Figueroa, 25, also was convicted in the death of a 20-year-old bystander and ordered to pay $45,000 to the survivors of both men, said his lawyer, Jaime Rodriguez.

The slain Drug Enforcement Administration agent, 37-year-old Frank Moreno of Edinburg, Texas, had argued with Figueroa in the El Divino discotheque and was shot in the chest as he left with a friend.


Accused Bosnian War Criminal Detained

SARAJEVO, Bosnia--NATO-led peacekeeping troops detained a Bosnian Serb accused of taking part in the mass murder of Muslim men, women and children during the 1992-1995 Bosnian conflict.

Mitar Vasiljevic, secretly indicted by the U.N. war crimes tribunal in 1998, has been charged with crimes against humanity and with violations of the laws or customs of war.

He was allegedly a member of a Serbian paramilitary unit called the White Eagles, which operated in and around the eastern town of Visegrad.

Austrian Rightist May Join Government

VIENNA--Joerg Haider and his far-right Freedom Party have decided to begin coalition talks with one of the partners in Austria's previous administrations.

The prospect of a government including Haider's party has alarmed some foreigners and Austrians, who dislike the Carinthia state governor's opposition to both immigration and the quick expansion of the European Union, as well as Haider's controversial statements about the German Nazi regime.

After a three-hour meeting Monday night, the Freedom Party leadership announced it would begin coalition talks with the Austrian People's Party of Foreign Minister Wolfgang Schuessel, which has governed with the Social Democrats for 13 years.


Mideast Peace Talks Postponed

JERUSALEM--Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak signaled another setback in peace talks with Syria when he put off indefinitely the departure of two experts to talks in Washington.

Chief negotiator Uri Saguy and a legal adviser were due to discuss with U.S. officials a draft peace proposal submitted by President Clinton, while Syrian experts were due to arrive separately over the next two weeks.

In Washington, a State Department official said the United States still did not have word from Syria about when its experts might come. "There has been what you could call a scheduling snafu," the U.S. official said.

Israeli Soldier Killed in Lebanon

MARJUYUN, Lebanon--An Israeli soldier was killed in a guerrilla attack in southern Lebanon, Lebanese security officials said. It was the first death since August of an Israeli soldier in Lebanon. Israeli planes retaliated with an airstrike that wounded two women.

The soldier was killed when guerrillas fired a rocket on the Israeli military outpost in Bayyada, which overlooks the southern port city of Tyre, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The Iranian-backed Hezbollah guerrilla group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Iranian Reformist Mayor Pardoned

TEHRAN--Iran's supreme leader has pardoned the popular, reform-minded former mayor of Tehran after seven months in prison--a move seen as part of an effort by hard-liners to project a more moderate image before parliamentary elections.

Gholamhossein Karbaschi was imprisoned on corruption charges he denied and sentenced to two years in prison. He is poised to return to public life and will soon launch a daily newspaper, according to Parvin Emami, a journalist working with him.

Tehran radio said judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi had requested that Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, pardon Karbaschi.


Algerian Rebels Shoot 12 Civilians

ALGIERS--Muslim rebels shot 12 civilians to death in the first massacre since a government amnesty offer expired 12 days ago, a newspaper said.

La Tribune said about 10 rebels, wearing military uniforms, forced an ambulance and a bus to stop at a bogus roadblock in the Defla area, about 75 miles west of Algiers.

It identified the attackers only as "terrorists"--the government's term for Muslim guerrillas waging an eight-year-old rebellion to topple the largely secular, pro-military government and replace it with an Islamic state.


Thai Hospital Reopened After Attack

RATCHABURI, Thailand--The Ratchaburi Provincial Hospital reopened to the public after police and army troops freed patients, visitors and staff who were held hostage by Burmese insurgents.

Officials said there were no casualties among the rescued civilians, although five police were wounded in the hour-long operation to retake the hospital. Ten insurgents were killed.

Shortly before the hospital reopened, the bodies of the gunmen--believed to belong to a rebel group called God's Army--were wrapped in white sheets and dumped in front of a hospital building for the media to see.


"The enemy is well prepared."

-- Gen. Vadim Timchenko, deputy chief of staff of Russia's North Caucasus army --Page A20