ASIA

N. Korea Threatens

To Thwart Attacks

TOKYO -- North Korea said yesterday that it could not trust a promise of nonaggression by the United States, and instead must rely on a "tremendous military deterrent force" to avoid an attack.

The statement appeared to withdraw North Korea's main demand -- for a nonaggression pact from the United States -- and toughened its position as the U.N. Security Council prepares to take up the issue of North Korea's nuclear weapons program Wednesday.

The announcement from the Foreign Ministry followed a blistering rebuff Saturday in which North Korea said it would ignore any action of the Security Council.

Both warnings went beyond the recent propaganda posturing of the totalitarian government and appeared to degrade prospects that the U.N. body would be able to resolve the dispute over the nuclear weapons development programs.

Pyongyang's position won some support from South Korea, with Foreign Minister Yoon Young Kwan suggesting the impasse could be resolved outside of the United Nations.

Doug Struck

Polio Vaccine Drive Launched in India

NEW DELHI -- Health workers knocked on millions of doors in a campaign to vaccinate 165 million of the country's children against polio this year -- the largest immunization drive ever against the disease.

The workers, who numbered in the hundreds of thousands, hoped to reach 98 million children in 10 Indian states yesterday alone.

Associated Press

Afghan Troops Kill Taliban Fighters

SPIN BOLDAK, Afghanistan -- Afghan government troops have killed two Taliban fighters and captured seven more in an operation against a secret hide-out in the south of the country, a military commander said.

The Afghan forces carried out the operation 18 miles north of the Afghan border town of Spin Boldak on Saturday night.

Reuters

EUROPE

War-Crimes Suspect Arrested in Croatia

ZAGREB, Croatia -- Croatian police have arrested a Bosnian Croat long sought by the U.N. war crimes tribunal for allegedly carrying out atrocities against Muslim civilians during the Bosnian war, a police official said.

Ivica Rajic, 45,was arrested Saturday in the Croatian capital, Zagreb, police spokeswoman Zinka Bardic said.

Rajic was indicted in September 1995 by the international court on charges of willfully killing Muslims in Bosnia as fighting raged between Bosnian Croats and Muslims.

Associated Press

THE MIDDLE EAST

Trial of Palestinian Begins in Tel Aviv

JERUSALEM -- The trial of Marwan Barghouti, the highest-ranking Palestinian political leader in Israeli custody, opened in a Tel Aviv court with Barghouti refusing to contest the murder charges against him and flashing V-signs at friends.

Barghouti is accused of complicity in attacks by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement in which 26 Israelis were killed. The trial started as Israeli forces stormed a small village in the Gaza Strip, killing two Palestinians, including a boy, and wounding 16, hospital officials said.

Associated Press