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Backers of N. Ireland accord start campaign

Supporters of Northern Ireland's peace agreement launched their campaign for a "yes" vote Monday, with one urging gunmen against the accord to "Go away, go away!"

But just across the border in the Irish Republic, a man found dead in a ditch appeared to be the victim of a paramilitary gang, police said Monday. The victim was not immediately identified.

Police in Northern Ireland, meanwhile, were questioning four people about the killing Saturday of Ciaran Heffron, a 22-year-old Roman Catholic. They also arrested two men and a woman for questioning about last week's killing of another Catholic, Adrian Lamph, 29.

Japan told to compensate

3 former "comfort women'

TOKYO _ A Japanese court Monday ordered the government to compensate three former Korean "comfort women" who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese army during World War II.

Judge Hideaki Chikashita said the treatment of the women was "a clear case of sexual and ethnic discrimination as a well as a violation of the human rights enshrined in the constitution."

The court told the government to pay $2,290 to each of the three women. It was the first ruling in favor of plaintiffs seeking compensation from Tokyo for their suffering.

The judge was scathingly critical of the government's failure to pass laws to provide compensation, despite admitting its involvement in the women's conscription.

Historians estimate that up to 200,000 women, mostly from Korea, were forced to provide sex for Japanese soldiers in military brothels before and during the war.

Spanish spill called peril

to birds, wildlife

DONANA PARK, Spain _ A flood of toxic waste is leaving a swath of contaminated mud on its path to the sea, endangering millions of birds and other wildlife in southern Spain, environmentalists warned Monday.

Hastily constructed dikes diverted the toxic liquid away from Donana Park, one of Europe's most prized nature reserves, and toward the Guadalquivir River, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean 37 miles downstream.

But the spill, caused when a mine reservoir burst Saturday, has left a huge area of toxic mud around the reserve, threatening the 6-million migratory birds that flock each year to its salt marshes, as well as the lynx, otters, eagles and other endangered wildlife that live there.

3 killed, seven hurt

in Balkan clashes

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia _ Backed by helicopter gunships, the Yugoslav army clashed Monday with ethnic Albanians and reported killing three insurgents. Albanian reports said up to a dozen people _ none of them militants _ were slain.

The latest violence further hampered the chances of a negotiated solution to the future of Kosovo, where Albanians _ the 90 percent majority in the Serbian province _ want independence. That option has been ruled out by the government of Serbia, the dominant republic of Yugoslavia.

STANIC RIJEKA, Bosnia-Herzegovina _ Angry Serb and Muslim crowds blocked a tunnel Monday on a main road in northern Bosnia after ethnic clashes in the increasingly volatile region.

The two groups created roadblocks of trucks and stones just a few hundred yards apart on the road linking the cities of Tuzla and Doboj after 10 people were injured late Sunday in clashes that included a grenade attack.

Sunday's violence occurred at Svjetleca, 35 miles northwest of Tuzla. A hand grenade exploded near a well, injuring seven Serbs, U.N. spokesman Andrea Angeli said. Angry Bosnian Serbs then hurled stones at Muslims, injuring three.

Elsewhere ...

CAIRO _ Government offices and banks shut down across the Arab world and families took off to beaches and parks Monday as millions of Muslims celebrated the new Islamic year.

Monday was the first day of Muharram, the first month of the year 1419.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan _ Peace talks between Afghanistan's warring factions deadlocked Monday over the composition of a representative council that would negotiate a settlement to the nation's civil war.

A disagreement between the Taleban Islamic militia, which controls about two-thirds of Afghanistan, and its factional opponents over the necessary religious qualifications of council members prompted a half-day suspension of the talks so delegates could consult their leaders. The U.N.-sponsored talks, which began Sunday, are to resume this afternoon.

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