TEHRAN - Iran on Wednesday trumpeted a Clinton administration decision to waive sanctions against three foreign companies that are doing business here as a moral victory for the European Union. "The United States finally bowed down to pressure from the European Union," the official news agency declared in a statement reflected on the front of Iranian newspapers.


MOSCOW - Striking coal miners cut both main railway routes across Siberia Wednesday, and workers elsewhere joined in labor protests as President Boris Yeltsin sought urgent solutions. The protests have been mostly in remote regions, but they spread to Moscow where teachers and students marched to protest conditions in education.


BELGRADE - Yugoslavia's federal parliament approved a protege of President Slobodan Milosevic as the new federal premier Wednesday, ignoring protests from Montenegro. Hard-line deputies who control both chambers of the federal parliament backed Momir Bulatovic as the new premier. His nomination by Milosevic deepened the confrontation between Serbia and reformist leadership in Montenegro.


NAIROBI - Three men have been arrested in last week's slaying of a Rwandan opposition leader - the businessman who ordered the killing and the two men who carried it out, police said Wednesday. Police spokesman Njeru Kianda said a Rwandan Tutsi living in Nairobi confessed to ordering the shooting death.


KATMANDU - Nineteen climbers reached the summit of Mount Everest on Wednesday, including one American mountaineer who placed an instrument atop the world's highest mountain to measure its growth. Storms had delayed the climbers until Tuesday, creating a backlog of teams eager for good weather in which to make their attempt on the 29,028-foot summit.


BEIRUT - Two Israeli warplanes raided suspected targets of the pro-Iranian Hezbollah in south Lebanon late Tuesday, a Lebanese security source said Wednesday. The source said the Israeli planes fired two rockets at 11:15 p.m. Tuesday on areas between Desry and Joun in Iqlim al-Toufah region - a Hezbollah stronghold.


LONDON - Two British nurses convicted in the slaying of an Australian colleague in Saudi Arabia are expected to fly back to Britain within days, after being freed by Saudi's King Fahd. The king commuted the sentences of Deborah Parry, 39, and Lucille McLauchlan, 32, and ordered them released, Ghazi Algosaibi, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Britain, said Tuesday.

LONDON - The head of a private mercenary group insists the British Foreign Office was kept informed about the arms he shipped to Sierra Leone in violation of a U.N. arms embargo. Tim Spicer, boss of Sandline International, also said Tuesday that he had "touched base" with the U.S. State Department.


DHAKA - A cyclone with winds of up to 103 miles per hour hit the Bangladesh coast Wednesday, destroying thousands of homes and crippling an oil tanker. There were no immediate reports of casualties, but United News of Bangladesh said an unknown number of people were feared dead on remote islands.

United States

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Three former student activists charged with spying for East Germany and other countries have lost their bid to suppress most of the government's evidence against them.