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Britain's Labour Chooses Young, Moderate Leader

COMPLETING a long march from the left to the center, Britain's main opposition Labour Party yesterday chose a young, moderate lawyer as its leader.

Tony Blair, with his rhetoric of renewal and community, easily defeated two rivals for the leadership of a party that has not won a national election since 1974. He was a favorite to win the three-way election and had a clear majority in the vote by Labour lawmakers, party members, and union officials. John Prescott was elected deputy leader, defeating incumbent Margaret Beckett.

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In backing Mr. Blair, Labour has chosen a man who feels comfortable on the turf of the governing Conservative Party. As Labour's spokesman on domestic affairs, Blair challenged the Conservatives on their pet ``law and order'' issues and pointed to the rise in crime during 15 years of Conservative rule.

Labour is riding high, having won 44 percent of the vote in the European Parliament elections in June; John Major's government garnered less than 28 percent. Blair's appealing manner is expected to attract middle-class voters, disappointed by the policies of the Conservatives. UN Council to welcome Russian troops in Georgia

THE Security Council was set yesterday to welcome Russian troops in Georgia and at the same time make sure United Nations military observers monitored their activities.

After weeks of negotiations, the council agreed to adopt a resolution late yesterday that sanctions Russia's peacekeepers without formally authorizing their dispatch.

In turn, UN observers are free to monitor, investigate, and report on the operation to enforce a cease-fire between Georgia and the break-away province of Abkhazia.

Russia has insisted that at minimum the UN, which sidestepped sending or paying for peacekeepers, had to recognize Moscow's efforts in quelling the fighting.

Moscow has fielded a 3,000-strong force to reinforce a fragile cease-fire on the Abkhaz border and oversee the return of 250,000 ethnic Georgians, who fled when the rebels prevailed last year.

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Russia's UN Ambassador Yuli Vorontsov two weeks ago threatened to block any action the United States wanted in Haiti unless the council moved positively on the Georgian operation.

Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze had begged the UN for help for months after civil war broke out. But only Russia offered any meaningful assistance.

The Council's hesitation stemmed in part from earlier Georgian accusations that maverick Russian military units trained the Abkhaz rebels and supplied them with arms.

But now that Mr. Shevardnadze has turned back to Russia for help, the council welcome Moscow's peacekeepers.

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