Fighting in Peru

The Associated Press

LIMA, Peru Peru late Monday announced it had captured the last Ecuadorean stronghold in Peruvian territory and declared a unilateral cease-fire in the Andean border war.

The cease-fire will go into effect at noon Tuesday (noon EST), President Alberto Fujimori said in an address to the nation.

There was no immediate reaction from the Ecuadorean government. But a television station in the Ecuadorean capital of Quito reported that officials were surprised and skeptical about the announcement.

''All Peru should know that at this moment ... Ecuadorean troops have been expelled from our territory,'' Fujimori said.

He said he hoped Ecuador would react ''positively in the face of this demonstration of good faith and prudence.''

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Peru would invite a commission of observers to verify the cease-fire in a disputed 48-mile border zone in the Amazon jungle, 590 miles north of Lima and 220 miles south of Quito.

It said Peru was confident that Chile, Brazil, Argentina and the United States could find a permanent solution to the conflict, which broke out Jan. 26.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Striking back Monday in the row over President Clinton's surgeon general nominee, Vice President Al Gore called Dr. Henry Foster Jr. the victim of an anti-abortion campaign to intimidate Congress. ''We're not going to let the extremists win,'' he declared.

But critics of the Tennessee obstetrician showed no sign of easing up. House Speaker Newt Gingrich said in Georgia, ''I think he's going to be very hard to confirm. I think it's going to be a very embarrassing set of hearings.''

In Washington, White House press secretary Mike McCurry acknowledged, ''We have our work cut out for us.''

But McCurry also joined in the tougher rhetoric the White House has begun using. He said that extremists in the right-to-life movement ''have now hooked Republicans and Congress by the nose and they're dragging them around.''

Douglas Johnson, a spokesman for the National Right to Life Committee, said the administration was just trying to change the subject. ''The White House now resorts to name calling in a desperate attempt to distract from the growing revelations regarding Dr. Foster's 30-year history as an abortionist and an abortion-drug innovator,'' he said.

President Clinton left the strong talk to his officials, saying only that the controversy was not distracting him from other work and that he expected Foster to be confirmed if considered ''by a fair-minded Senate.''

Senate hearings are expected next month with a confirmation vote to follow.

TUSAYAN, Ariz. A plane flying tourists over the Grand Canyon lost an engine, crashed and burned while trying to return to an airport Monday, killing eight of the 10 people aboard, authorities said.

Rescuers pulled the survivors two badly burned women from the flaming wreckage, said Maureen Oltrogge, a spokeswoman for Grand Canyon National Park.

Rescuers were hindered by rain, thick mud and patchy snow on the back roads of the Ponderosa pine forest south of the canyon.

''It's been a nightmare trying to get through the mud,'' said Lt. Robert Augenstene of the Coconino County Sheriff's Department.

The twin-engine Piper Navajo flown by Las Vegas Airlines came to rest with its fuselage broken in two, its wings snapped off, Oltrogge said.

The survivors were in critical condition with burns and multiple injuries, said a spokeswoman at Flagstaff Medical Center, Kathy Dean.

RICHMOND, Va. A federal appeals court upheld the law against blocking access to abortion clinics on Monday, rejecting arguments that the law infringes on free-speech rights.

The three-judge panel's unanimous ruling in two cases, brought by an anti-abortion group and a protester, is the first appellate decision on the act President Clinton signed into law on May 26, 1994.

One challenge was filed by Joyce Woodall, an abortion protester who was arrested after kneeling in prayer at the door of a Falls Church clinic.

The second was filed by the American Life League, a Stafford anti-abortion group. The league's lawyer argued that protesters can say anything they want as long as they don't threaten or assault people or block entrances.

Judge M. Blane Michael, writing for the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, said the law protects people seeking or providing abortions without infringing on anyone's First Amendment rights.

The act ''strikes a balance among competing rights holders'' while ''those opposed to abortion or to any other reproductive health service retain the freedom to express their deeply-held moral or religious views in a peaceful, non-obstructive way,'' Michael wrote.

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