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September 15, 1996
Web posted at: 2:20 p.m. EDT (1820 GMT)

Italian politician declares independent 'Padania'

VENICE, Italy (CNN) -- The leader of Italy's Northern League political party, Umberto Bossi, proclaimed independence for a portion of northern Italy Sunday, but a far-right leader may have upstaged the separatist with a large pro-unity march in Milan.

In a three-day jaunt through the region on his way to announce the "republic of Padania," Bossi has received little popular support. Several thousand supporters heard his proclamation in Venice, but 150,000 people joined National Alliance party leader Gianfranco Fini in a carefully staged unity march.

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Separatists protest Kashmiri elections

SRINAGAR, India (CNN) -- Separatists groups launched demonstrations in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, on Sunday, on the eve of a second day of the disputed Muslim-majority region's four-stage elections.

Police used tear-gas against the protesters, who want independence from India and have rejected the elections imposed by the Hindu-majority Indian government.

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Chernomyrdin casts doubt on prospect of Chechen independence

MOSCOW (CNN) -- Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin appeared to close the door on possible independence for Chechnya, saying that Russia's territorial integrity must be respected.

A shaky truce negotiated after fierce fighting in Grozny last month called for a referendum on the matter in the future, but did not guarantee that Russia would go along with the results should the Chechens vote for independence.

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Algerians sign pact for elections

PARIS (CNN) -- Representatives of Algerian political parties and unions and other leaders ended a disputed national conference Sunday by signing a pact paving the way for a multi-party system and general elections next year.

The conference was boycotted by two secular parties, and Islamic fundamentalist groups were barred, absences that could undermine the attempt to end five years of political violence that has cost some 50,000 lives.

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Turkish soldiers reportedly kill Kurd rebels


ANKARA, Turkey (CNN) -- A Turkish news agency reported Sunday that Turkish soldiers killed 36 Kurdish rebels in the Van province of southeastern Turkey. The report said the rebels, who want an autonomous state, were killed during a day-long offensive in the province along Turkey's border with Iran.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati, following a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Tansu Ciller, said Tehran is ready to help Turkey combat the rebels by taking steps to prevent them from infiltrating from Iran.

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Archeologists uncover rare Greek statue

KIRINIA, Greece (CNN) -- Archeologists in Greece have made a rare find -- a 2-meter-long statue dating back to the second century, with head and torso intact. They believe the statue represents an athlete or a god, and is a copy of an older sculpture from about 460 B.C.

Scientists said they were delighted with the statue's state of preservation.

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