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Protesters blockade Parliament

Backed by scores of mutinous soldiers, hundreds of protesters blockaded Papua New Guinea's Parliament on Tuesday, pressing for the ouster of the prime minister.

While talks between legislators and a senior army officer eased what had been an angry confrontation, soldiers and more than 1,000 civilians remained outside the legislative compound early today, forcing lawmakers to spend the night inside.

A diplomat representing the Commonwealth of Britain and its former colonies tried to broker a compromise between politicians and the army, which would include moving up national elections now scheduled for June.

Prime Minister Sir Julius Chan's government hired British and South African mercenaries to quash a 9-year-old rebellion on the island of Bougainville.

When news of the mercenary contract leaked out, the country's soldiers revolted, angered that the government spent $36-million on the foreign fighters. Civilians joined them, protesting what they saw as government mismanagement and corruption.

Clinton to send

envoy to Middle East

WASHINGTON _ President Clinton has decided to send his special envoy for the Middle East, Dennis Ross, back to the region to try to stop a further spiral into violence, senior U.S. officials said Tuesday.

U.S. officials fear that the fragile basis for peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians may be unraveling, with both exchanging accusations about the violence that followed Israel's decision to build a housing complex in East Jerusalem.

Ross will try to get the two sides talking again, U.S. officials say, "so they can rebuild the confidence necessary to move forward on these sensitive issues." Settlements and Jerusalem are so-called final status issues, subject to suspended Palestinian-Israeli talks.

Dutch doctor arrested in patient's assisted suicide

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands _ Prosecutors charged a doctor with murder Tuesday for allegedly ignoring Dutch euthanasia guidelines when he injected a patient with a fatal dose of insulin.

Dr. Sippe Schat says he administered the drug to 72-year-old Dora Brattinga last April at her request.

Family, friends and patients crowded into the courtroom in Leeuwarden to support Schat, who faces up to 20 years in prison.

While the Netherlands has the world's most liberal policy on euthanasia, prosecutors say Schat breached so many of the government-approved guidelines that they had to press charges.

The three-judge panel will deliver its verdict in two weeks.

Bermuda to swear in first woman prime minister

HAMILTON, Bermuda _ The ruling party has picked the daughter of a renowned civil rights leader as the new prime minister in a move apparently aimed at establishing rapport with voters ahead of national elections.

The United Bermuda Party named Pamela Gordon, former environment minister, to the post Monday after no other Cabinet ministers challenged her. Gordon, 41, is Bermuda's first woman prime minister and the youngest in its nearly 400-year history.

Her appointment came five days after Prime Minister David Saul, 57, resigned to make way for a younger _ and more popular _ leader.

Russian warship

to call on Japan

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia _ A Russian warship will make a friendly call on a Japanese port this summer, the first such visit between the former enemies in more than a century, a Russian news agency, ITAR-Tass, reported Tuesday.

Russia and Japan fought two wars this century and remain at odds over the Kuril Islands, which Russia captured from Japan near the end of World War II.

The last time a Russian vessel visited Japan was in 1894. Japan's navy made its last call at a Russian port in 1925, ITAR-Tass said.

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