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POLITICAL INTRIGUES RATTLE KREMLIN President Boris Yeltsin, in an effort to stanch the flow of rumors emanating from the Kremlin, yesterday denied that the Russian prime minister and foreign minister were about to be sacked. On Tuesday, a Moscow radio station falsely reported that Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin had resigned for health reasons. Earlier, there was speculation that Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev was to be dismissed. Mr. Yeltsin responded angrily to the reports, which could undermine the government's authority. ``These rumors are absolutely unfounded,'' he said. The two ministers were visibly absent from Moscow: Mr. Chernomyrdin was on vacation in Sochi; Mr. Kozyrev was in New York at a UN meeting. Yeltsin said hasty conclusions should not be drawn from their absence. Drought in northern Mexico

The governor of the northern state of Chihuahua asked President Carlos Salinas de Gortari on Tuesday to declare the state a disaster following a major drought. Officials say the 60,000 Tarhumaras Indians in the region 760 miles northwest of Mexico City have been particularly hard hit.

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Egyptian crackdown

Eight suspected Muslim extremists were killed in a police raid and three men were injured in an attack by the radicals amid rising tensions following the stabbing of Nobel Prize-winning author Naguib Mahfouz. The incidents Tuesday night were part of the government's crackdown on Muslim radicals blamed for attacking Mr. Mahfouz last Friday.

Newspapers strike

Eight daily newspapers in Algeria started a three-day strike yesterday to protest the killing of journalists. At least 17 journalists have been killed in Algeria since May 1993 in attacks blamed on Muslim fundamentalists. Baseball talks resume

Striking Major League baseball players and team owners met for the first time in more than a month yesterday. They sat down in Washington with federal mediator W.J. Usery, a former secretary of labor who helped settle the 1974 National Football League players strike. Mr. Usery was asked by President Clinton last Friday to help resolve the baseball impasse. The players went on strike Aug. 12 to protest a salary cap proposed by the owners. The two sides last talked Sept. 9.

Leyte landing recalled

In one of the largest ceremonies of the Pacific theater, US and Filipino veterans join officials of 12 countries today to commemorate the 1944 US landing at Leyte, which led to the liberation of the Philippines from Japanese occupation. US Marines will storm the beach here at the spot where Gen. Douglas MacArthur waded ashore on Oct. 20, 1944, fulfilling his ``I shall return'' vow made when he fled Japanese invaders.

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