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BLOCKADE: Mexicans angered by a blockade of the U.S. border built one of their own, using crude barriers of rocks and boards to block traffic on two international bridges. The protests Tuesday came on the third day of the U.S. Border Patrol's "Operation Blockade," an attempt to stop illegal immigration by putting up a 20-mile wall of agents along the Rio Grande in the El Paso, Texas, area.CHESS: By fending off Nigel Short's seventh-game challenge, Garry Kasparov has pulled decisively ahead of the Englishman in their breakaway chess championship in London. Playing what was acknowledged to be his best game so far of the 24-game match, Kasparov won in 36 moves Tuesday. He extended his lead to 51/2 points to Short's 11/2.

INTERVIEW: Two California detectives investigating child molestation allegations against Michael Jackson met for four hours Wednesday in Manila with a Philippine couple who say the singer fondled young boys at his California ranch.

Across the nation

BIG BLAST: A chemical explosion with the punch of a small nuclear bomb rocked the Nevada desert early Wednesday in a test scientists hope will lead to ways of verifying an atomic test ban treaty. Some 2.9 million pounds of a slurrylike mixture of ammonium nitrate, diesel fuel and water was detonated in a tunnel underneath the nation's nuclear testing grounds at 12:01 a.m., said Energy Department spokesman Jim Boyer. The blast had the explosive yield of a one-kiloton nuclear bomb, Boyer said. Observers from China, Romania, Japan, Germany and other countries were on hand.

ABUSE: A study of thousands of pregnant California women found an "alarmingly high" 11 percent had used drugs or alcohol shortly before they gave birth. William Vega of the University of California, Berkeley, says the study of urine samples from 29,494 women admitted to 202 California hospitals in 1992 was by far the largest study of its kind. The researchers say the problem was especially disturbing among black women: 14 percent tested positive for drug use and more than 11 percent were positive for alcohol use. Nearly 8 percent were positive for cocaine.