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Air force show set in Taiwan

Amid rising tensions with China, the Taiwanese air force will stage an air show to boost public confidence in the island's defense, officials said Thursday.

But the display, scheduled for Sept. 1, is not aimed at countering increased Chinese air and ship activity in the Taiwan Strait in recent weeks, said Vice Air Force Cmdr. Jen Yu Sheng.

Taiwanese officials said the show, to be preceded by up to five rehearsals, will include U.S.-built F-16s, French-built Mirages and the Taiwan's Indigenous Defensive Fighters.

Jen noted China has flown more military jets over the strait since tensions flared last month over Beijing's angry response to President Lee Teng Hui's assertion that relations between Taiwan and China should be on a "state-to-state" basis.

Despite 50 years of political division, China claims sovereignty over Taiwan.

Kurdish rebels to pull back

from southeast battlefield

ANKARA, Turkey _ Kurdish rebels accepted a cease-fire call by their imprisoned leader, saying Thursday they would withdraw from the battlefields of southeast Turkey.

Abdullah Ocalan, sentenced to death in June, urged his followers Tuesday to unilaterally pull out of southeast Turkey by Sept. 1 to open the way for dialogue with the government.

"Our party openly declares its full compliance with comrade president Ocalan's call, and it will carry out its activities on this basis," the guerrillas said Thursday.

It would be the rebels' first retreat from their mountain hideouts in the 15-year battle between their Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, and Turkey's military.

The PKK, which wants autonomy for Turkey's predominantly Kurdish southeast, has lost ground of late. It apparently has come to believe it can gain more through pressuring Turkey in the international arena than through isolated clashes.

Travel advisory urges

Americans to be cautious

WASHINGTON _ Americans should remain especially vigilant about their personal safety in the coming days because of possible terrorist activity on the anniversary of the bombings at the U.S. embassies in East Africa, the State Department said Thursday.

The department updated a "worldwide caution" issued June 10 with a reminder that terrorists may take action around significant dates such as the anniversary of the Aug. 7, 1998, bombs that killed 224 people, including 12 Americans, in Kenya and Tanzania.

Another day to watch is Aug. 20, the one-year anniversary of U.S. retaliatory airstrikes against targets in Afghanistan and Sudan, the State Department said.

Politics . . .

ISRAELI CABINET: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak expanded his Cabinet from 17 to 23 members Thursday, appointing Israel's first Arab deputy foreign minister. The extra appointments were mostly to fulfill promises that Barak made to his many coalition partners.

RUSSIAN COALITION: The late Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's grandson was named Thursday to lead an alliance of Communists and other leftist groups in campaigning for October's parliamentary elections. Yevgeny Dzhugashvili, 63, was elected the head of the Popular Patriotic Union, a coalition of seven parties and movements.

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