EUROPE

Britain Willing to Cede Land in Cyprus

NICOSIA, Cyprus -- Britain is willing to give up about half of the territory of the large military bases it operates on Cyprus if that would smooth a peace settlement between the island's ethnic Greeks and Turks, the British government said yesterday.

Britain, the former colonial power, retains 98 square miles on the divided island, spread out over two "sovereign base areas" on the southern coast. The offer of land as an incentive to settle came as the United Nations was pushing for acceptance of a broad power-sharing blueprint between Cyprus's rival communities by Friday.

Reuters

AsiA

U.N. Indicts Indonesia's Gen. Wiranto

DILI, East Timor -- The United Nations today indicted the former Indonesian armed forces chief, Gen. Wiranto, six other senior generals and East Timor's ex-governor for crimes against humanity during the territory's bloody independence vote in 1999.

The world body said in a statement said the alleged crimes "were all undertaken as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against the civilian population of East Timor and specifically targeted those who were believed to be supporters of independence for East Timor."

Associated Press

THE AMERICAS

Drug Gangs Burn Buses, Cars in Rio

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Brazil's carnival capital was struck by a wave of apparent drug-related violence yesterday as gangs burned buses and cars and warned shops to stay closed or face retaliation.

State Security Secretary Josias Quintal said the Red Command gang headed by drug lord Luiz Fernando da Costa had apparently ordered the violence in retaliation for tough police action against the gangs. Da Costa is serving time in a jail on the outskirts of Rio.

Authorities said a police booth was sprayed with machine-gun fire and homemade bombs exploded in a posh district of the seaside city, which is swarming with tourists for the carnival bash.

Police reinforced patrols across the city and occupied some hillside shantytowns where drug gangs are based. But that did not prevent at least five buses from being torched on the outskirts in the early afternoon.

Reuters

THE MIDDLE EAST

4 U.S. Soldiers Die in Helicopter Crash

KUWAIT CITY -- Four U.S. soldiers died in a helicopter crash in Kuwait, the U.S. military said. The soldiers were the crew of a UH-60 Black Hawk that was conducting a night exercise with another helicopter from the Army's Germany-based V Corps, said the Central Command, headquarters for U.S. military operations in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East.

The crash took place about 1 a.m. at the U.S. military base called Camp New Jersey, about 30 miles northwest of Kuwait City. The soldiers' identities were being withheld pending notification of their families. No one else was in the helicopter at the time of the crash, the military said.

Thomas E. Ricks

Sharon Reaches Deal to Form Coalition

JERUSALEM -- Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon reached a deal to form a new coalition government, teaming up with a party that champions Jewish settlers in Palestinian territories and a party that is battling special advantages given to ultra-Orthodox Jews.

If Sharon presents the lineup on Thursday, as planned, Israel's 30th government would leave the once dominant Labor Party in opposition. Labor's latest leader, retired Army Gen. Amram Mitzna, quit talks with Sharon over the weekend after the two could not find common ground on how to make peace with the Palestinians.

The deal would leave Sharon's Likud in near absolute control of security and defense decisions.

Knight Ridder