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President Clinton put the best face possible on the partial peace accord on Kosovo, calling it "a significant step forward" and urging both sides to sign it next month. Pentagon officials said it would cost $1.5 billion to $2 billion a year to run the US portion of a NATO-led peacekeeping operation in Kosovo.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan indicated he thinks UN peacekeepers should be used more often to help solve the growing number of civil and ethnic wars, especially in Africa. In a speech at Georgetown University in Washington, he made no reference to his attempts to persuade the GOP-controlled Congress to pay about $1.6 billion in US arrears to the UN, mainly for peace-keeping operations.

White supremacist John William King was found guilty of capital murder in the brutal dragging death of a black man last June in Jasper, Texas. King could receive the death penalty or life in prison. (Stories, pages 1, 2.) The verdict came as the Southern Poverty Law Center, a human-rights group, said the number of US neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan groups grew nearly 40 percent last year - to 314.

A federal appeals court ordered a stay of execution for a German just 13-1/2 hours before he was due to be put to death in the Arizona gas chamber for murdering a bank manager 17 years ago. In a unanimous decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco stopped the execution of Karl LaGrand, ruling that death by cyanide gas is unconstitutional on the grounds that it is cruel and inhumane.


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