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News Briefs I

Contents of Downed Planes Shown

Los Angeles Times

Cuba Sunday showed what officials here say is evidence that two civilian planes shot down by their jet fighters last weekend had invaded Cuban air space.

Flight plans, a black bag and a battery charger that Cuban officials say are refuse from the planes and were found nine miles from the Cuban coast were displayed on the lunch-time state newscast for the first time. Officials have repeatedly said they had in their possession objects from the planes that would prove that they were in Cuabn territory, rather than international waters as the U.S. government stated in condemning the shooting.

Where the planes were shot down has become a major point of contention as the United States and Cuba argue over who was responsible for the deaths of four pilots from the Brothers to the Rescue exile organization.

President Clinton has accused the Cubans of acting brutally by shooting down the planes in international waters.

Cuban officials, who say the planes were in their territory, blame the United States for failing to halt unauthorized flights into Cuban airspace by planes taking off from Florida. Both governments recognize that the United States and Cuba had communicated extensively about the flights for 20 months before the incident.

Turkish Secular Block Forms

Los Angeles Times

In something of a shotgun marriage, the two leaders of Turkey's rival center-right parties signed a pledge of loyalty Sunday to a new coalition intended to keep a pro-Islamic party from power.

One television news program played an upbeat wedding march as it showed footage of the signing ceremony. The Turkish establishment and its Western allies have also greeted with relief the end of a lengthy search for a new government in this strategic NATO ally straddling Europe and the Middle East.

Under the agreement, caretaker Prime Minister Tansu Ciller of the True Path Party ceded the first year of a rotating premiership to her bitter rival, Motherland Party leader Mesut Yilmaz. The two had failed to put together a coalition immediately after December elections when each refused to let the other be prime minister first.

"I have made this sacrifice because I did not think the (Islamic) Welfare Party would be good for the state. We thought this would be better for political stability," Ciller said.

Necmettin Erbakan, the leader of the Welfare Party - which, with 21 percent of the vote in the December elections, came in first but not with enough seats to govern alone - angrily denounced the Yilmaz-Ciller alliance. "This coalition will do nothing but ruin the country. Welfare will come to power - if not today, then tomorrow," he told his party's executive body.

Conservatives Win Spanish Election

The Washington Post

Spain's voters put aside doubts Sunday about placing a right-wing government in power, as conservative leader Jose Maria Aznar's Popular Party edged the Socialist Party of Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez, who has governed for 13 years.

Aznar campaigned largely on the proposal that consolidation of Spain's 20-year-old democracy requires exorcising fears of the right wing rooted in four decades of often oppressive rule by dictator Francisco Franco.

"The Popular Party has won the elections after so many years, and has won cleanly and democratically as it should," Aznar told cheering supporters at his downtown Madrid headquarters. "Spain has opened a new political cycle. A great party of the center is ready to take up the reins of power."

The crowd answered with shouts of "Torero, torero," the spectators' chant of praise for a triumphant bullfighter.

However, Aznar was unable to win a clear majority in Spain's 350-member parliament. With about 90 percent of the votes counted, the Popular Party appeared to have won 156 seats to 141 for Gonzalez's Socialists.

Aznar's campaign stressed national unity, and he indicated he would refuse to make concessions to autonomous Catalonia, which will press for economic aid and added cultural freedoms.