Tentative Peace Deal Set

In Indonesian Province

HELSINKI -- Negotiators for the Free Aceh Movement and the Indonesian government have reached a tentative agreement to end the decades-long war in Aceh province, an official said Saturday.

"We have worked out a mutually acceptable form of words on political parties" in the draft accord, said Damien Kingsbury, an Australian academic who is a member of the Acehnese delegation at peace talks in the Finnish capital.

The issue of securing a political role for the separatist Free Aceh Movement has been the main sticking point in the current negotiations.

The two sides are scheduled to meet again in Helsinki next month to formally sign the agreement ending a war that started in 1976.

THE AMERICAS

* BULL BAY, Jamaica -- Fishermen dragged skiffs to shore and surfers rode enormous waves as Hurricane Emily's winds strengthened to 155 mph, passing south of Jamaica and on track to make a direct hit at Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

Mexican officials launched the evacuation of 85,000 people across more than 100 miles of coastline and ordered the relocation of 30,000 tourists in Cancun.

The Category 4 storm was on track to pass close to Grand Cayman Island overnight before smashing into the Yucatan Peninsula on its way to the Gulf of Mexico and possibly southern Texas.

* SAN JOSE, Costa Rica -- A small plane carrying the son of a former owner of the San Jose, Calif., Sharks hockey team and at least 5 others crashed off the coast of Costa Rica, killing at least 6 people, according to authorities and the former hockey team owner.

George Gund, former owner of the Sharks hockey team, said his son, Greg, was aboard a plane that crashed near Costa Rica.

ASIA

* SRINAGAR, India -- Security forces in India's portion of Kashmir killed at least 17 suspected Islamic militants on Saturday, including 13 rebels who had entered the region from Pakistan, the Indian army said.

* KABUL, Afghanistan -- Suspected Taliban gunmen kidnapped and hanged a pro-government tribal leader in southern Afghanistan, an official said, describing the latest killing of an ally of President Hamid Karzai.

Agha Jan was kidnapped Thursday with his two sons, brother and two nephews from his home in southern Zabol province, said local police chief Gul Habib Jan. Agha Jan's relatives were freed unharmed, but the tribal chief's body was found Friday.

On Friday, suspected Taliban fighters raided a police post in the country's south, and the ensuing shootout left seven officers and five attackers dead.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military Saturday released 20 Afghans from detention after they were determined to no longer represent a threat, U.S. military spokeswoman Sgt. Marina Evans said.

THE MIDDLE EAST

* CAIRO -- A feminist Egyptian presidential aspirant, Nawal Saadawi, 73, said she was pulling out of September elections because a recent constitutional amendment sets restrictions that make the emergence of viable candidates impossible.

-- From News Services