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News Briefs

Concern Grows About Fighting On Macedonia-Kosovo Border


International concern about fighting along the Macedonia-Kosovo border grew Monday as ethnic Albanian guerrillas clashed with Macedonian security forces.

U.S. peacekeepers on the Kosovo side of the border said they observed ethnic Albanian fighters in apparent retreat after stashing their weapons and changing out of uniform in homes or barns. But the Macedonian Defense Ministry said an estimated 150 to 300 guerrillas continued to hold the border village of Tanusevci.

“We have seen individuals wearing uniforms, carrying weapons, go into buildings, and then later, individuals coming out wearing civilian clothes,” said Maj. Jim Marshall, a spokesman for the NATO-led KFOR peacekeeping force in Kosovo.

“It’s very close to the border, and from our position we’re not able to distinguish what side of the border that’s occurring on,” Marshall said.

Many observers believe that the guerrilla takeover of the village is linked to fighting in the nearby Presevo Valley of southern Serbia, the dominant Yugoslav republic, where ethnic Albanians are battling Serbian forces. It also may be related to the long-term objective of attaching heavily Albanian parts of Macedonia to a “Greater Kosovo” or a “Greater Albania.”

Macedonian Defense Ministry spokesman Georgi Trendafilov said six sniper and two machine-gun nests were destroyed in Monday’s fighting and that there were no Macedonian casualties.

“We are monitoring the situation, and the use of force by our side will be proportional to the danger on the ground,” he said.

Supreme Court Won’t Bar EPA’s Air Pollution Rules


The Supreme Court cleared the way Monday for the Environmental Protection Agency to enforce new regulations aimed at reducing air pollution in the eastern half of the United States.

Without comment or published dissent, the justices refused to hear an appeal by power companies and states which contended that the EPA had used improper criteria in setting the regulations. The Supreme Court’s decision lets stand a March 2000 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that upheld the regulations.

The EPA had written the regulations in 1998 with the goal of reducing persistent, severe smog problems in major eastern cities by May 2003. Much of the pollution was caused by pollutants drifting with the wind from the Midwest and Southeast toward the Northeast.

In order to oblige the so-called “upwind” states to share in the burden of cleaning up northeastern air, the EPA required a total of 22 states and the District of Columbia to submit plans for eliminating those emissions of nitrogen oxide that could be stopped at a cost of $2,000 per ton or less.

However, industry and seven “upwind” states decided to fight the EPA rules all the way to the Supreme Court, arguing that they failed to take into account differences in the amount each individual state actually contributes to pollution.