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News Briefs

October 26, 1995
Web posted at: 12:30 p.m. EDT (1630 GMT)

Italian Premier promises to step down, if conditions met

ROME -- Italian Premier Lamberto Dini may have stalled a parliamentary no-confidence vote scheduled for later Thursday. He promised to resign as soon as parliament approves a couple of items: his 1996 budget and an equal-access media law for politicians. Dini said approval could come within weeks.

The pledge appeared to placate a group of hard-line Communists who had joined conservatives in a move to oust the former state bank executive. The Communist Refoundation members said they were inclined to withdraw from the anti-Dini movement.

Dini assumed temporary leadership of the government in January under a mandate to trim the budget. His foes, led by former Premier Silvio Berlusconi, charge that he's worn out his welcome and call Dini's non-elected government un-democratic.

Avalanche swamps Icelandic village, killing 12

REYKJAVIK, Iceland (CNN) -- An avalanche tumbled through the northwestern Icelandic village of Flateyri early Thursday, killing twelve people and leaving nine missing.

The avalanche hit the remote town around 4 a.m. (0400 GMT). By afternoon, rescuers were digging through hundreds of tons of ice and snow. "We have found 12 people dead, nine have been pulled out alive and nine are still missing," a public emergency services spokesman said.

Last January, an avalanche killed 14 people in the nearby village of Sudavik. Thursday's tragedy will surely fuel the growing debate as to whether residents of Iceland's avalanche-prone areas should be permanently evacuated.

From Reuters news service.

Chechen rebels kill 19 Russian soldiers

MOSCOW -- At least 19 Russian soldiers were killed by Chechen rebels during a clash over a car crash involving Chechen civilians, the Interfax news agency reported Thursday.

The Russian military said a car carrying the Chechens pulled in front of an armored vehicle Tuesday in Vedeno, about 30 miles southeast of the Chechen capital of Grozny. An argument over who was to blame escalated into a skirmish and the Chechen rebels fired on the Russians, the Interfax report said. There was no word on whether the people in the car were hurt.

Eight soldiers were captured by the rebels, the news agency said. Russian troops have promised to retaliate for the killings.

Vedeno is a rebel stronghold in the Caucacus Mountains. Moscow deployed about 40,000 troops to the Caucasus area last December to thwart a secession movement.

Felipe Gonzalez

Spain's Prime Minister suffers huge budget defeat

MADRID, Spain (CNN) -- Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez lost a major legislative battle Wednesday. The lower house of Parliament rejected the draft 1996 budget proposed by the Prime Minister's Socialist Party by a 52 percent majority.

All of the opposition parties united to vote down the proposal. Jose Maria Aznar, leader of the center right People's Party, called for Gonzalez to resign immediately and dissolve Parliament.

After 13 years in power, Gonzalez has been under increasing pressure from his political opponents because of a covert campaign of bombings and murders against suspected Basque separatists in the 1980s. The Prime Minister has denied any knowledge of the incidents, although former intelligence agents say he is implicated.

Mystery illness kills 12 in Nicaragua

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (CNN) -- A mysterious disease has killed at least 12 people and infected nearly 900 more in less than a week in a remote area of northwestern Nicaragua.

The outbreak is concentrated in Achuapa, which is about 125 miles northwest of Managua. Clinics in the town of 13,000 people say they have been deluged by patients from rural areas complaining of bleeding of the nose and gums, headaches, body aches and severe fatigue.

While the illness has the symptoms of hemorrhagic dengue, clinical tests for dengue have so far proven negative. American and Cuban specialists have been called in to investigate.

Health Minister Federico Munoz said Wednesday he has ordered the region cordoned off to try to contain the illness, which also has been reported in eight other nearby towns.

Frozen mummies found in Peruvian Andes

AREQUIPA, Peru (CNN) -- Three well-preserved mummies may help historians learn more about the ancient Incan civilization. Archaeologists announced the unprecedented find Wednesday.

The bodies of the two young women and a man were discovered by a joint Peruvian-American archaeology team in September and early October about 20,700 feet up icy Mount Ampato in the Peruvian Andes.

Scientists said the three were killed by Inca priests as human sacrifices 500 years ago. Two of the bodies were partially frozen and could contain 500-year-old living organisms.

The Incas ruled a 2,000-mile stretch of western South America from Ecuador to northern Chile and Argentina before the Spanish conquest in the early 16th century.

Imelda Marcos

Marcos wins legal battle, heads to Congress

MANILA, Philippines (CNN) -- The Philippine Supreme Court has cleared the way for former first lady Imelda Marcos to take her seat in Congress.

With a vote of 9-6 Wednesday, the court rejected her closest rival's protest against Marcos' election to the House of Representatives last May. The court said the protest by incumbent Cirilo Montejo lacked merit.

Marcos was sentenced to 18 years in jail in 1993 for corruption, but has been free on bail pending an appeal. She would automatically lose her seat if the corruption conviction is upheld.

The 65-year-old and her late husband Ferdinand Marcos were driven into exile in Hawaii by the February 1986 revolt. Marcos died in Honolulu three years later. In November 1991, she returned to the Philippines.

She faces more than 100 criminal and civil cases on charges she illegally amassed wealth during her husband's 20-year rule.


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