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Bosnian Serbs March Into Deserted Enclave of Zepa

Los Angeles Times
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina

The Bosnian Serb army pushed ahead Tuesday in its takeover of a second United Nations-designated "safe area," marching into the town of Zepa but finding its streets and homes almost deserted, U.N. officials said.

Muslim women, their children and government soldiers, fearing Bosnian Serb atrocities, fled in advance of their enemies' troops' arrival and sought refuge in the surrounding caves and forests. The Bosnian Serbs' capture of Zepa follows by exactly two weeks the fall of Srebrenica, another U.N.-protected enclave where conquering Serbs expelled more than 30,000 Muslims in the single largest incident of "ethnic cleansing" in the 39-month Bosnian war.

Written off by the United Nations and the West, Zepa had resisted for a week of Bosnian Serb shelling and psychological warfare. The isolated enclave of 17,000 people received no assistance even after Washington and allied nations pledged a more aggressive defense of the safe areas.

The Muslim-led but nonsectarian Bosnian government, insisting that parts of the enclave remained under its control, said its forces in Zepa would turn over their weapons to the United Nations as the nationalist Serbs are demanding - but only if U.N. officials agree to evacuate civilians and airlift soldiers from Zepa. "Any evacuation without the protection of (U.N. peacekeeping forces) would mean sure death," Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic asserted.

Group Says Baby Foods Contain Pesticide Residues

The Washington Post

More than half the name-brand baby foods selected at random from grocery stores in a recent study were found to contain residues of pesticides, including three probable carcinogens, a nonprofit environmental organization reported Tuesday.

Sixteen different pesticides were detected on the eight types of baby food sampled in the inquiry, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the Washington-based organization that conducted the study earlier this year.

Lynn Goldman, an assistant administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, said that the findings accurately reflect the occasional occurrence of minuscule amounts of pesticides in baby food. But the levels found should pose no health threat to infants, she stressed.

"I would not recommend that parents stop feeding their children baby food as a result of this," said Goldman, who was trained as a pediatrician. The nutritional value of the food is important for infants, she said.

The EWG study acknowledged that the levels of residues found fall well below the amounts allowed by federal agencies.

EWG took samples from grocery stores in Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco last May. The test focused on eight foods: applesauce, garden vegetables, green beans, peaches, pears, plums, squash and sweet potatoes.

Salvadorans Protest Arrest Of Accused Vigilantes

Los Angeles Times

Salvadorans marched through the streets of San Miguel, El Salvador, Monday to protest the arrests last week of 16 men accused of belonging to a vigilante group that has killed street gang members and threatened lawyers, judges and politicians.

Four police, a Protestant minister and a prominent merchant, were among those arrested Thursday in San Miguel, about 80 miles outside El Salvador's capital of San Salvador, by the National Civilian Police. All have denied that they are members of the vigilante group known as "Sombra Negra," or Black Shadow, which has claimed responsibility for murders of two dozen gang members.

Further arrests are anticipated as a special unit continues its investigation into possible involvement of the Public Security Ministry and high-ranking police officials in the vigilante activities, sources close to the case said.

"The arrests are disturbing because they suggest the involvement of police," said George Vickers, executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America, an American think tank. "On the other hand, there has been some real serious investigation here. While there are some high-level individuals involved, it is individuals rather than institutions."

That is a relief for those who feared that the vigilantes marked a return to the days of "death squads," when unknown gunmen killed government critics with impunity.