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Around the world

SRI LANKA: Socialists willing to negotiate with Tamil rebels won the most seats in national elections and were trying to form a coalition government that would oust the ruling party after 17 years. The five-party Peoples' Alliance has promised to restructure Sri Lanka's government by weakening the presidency so the prime minister and parliament will have more control. It also has pledged to hold unconditional talks with guerrillas who have been battling for a Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka for 11 years. Some 34,000 people have died in the fighting.MORE FIGHTING: Artillery battles between Bosnian government and rebel Serb forces flared again inside the U.N. heavy-weapons exclusion zone around Sarajevo, a U.N. peacekeeping spokesman said Wednesday. He reported "intense artillery and mortar activity" Tuesday near Breza in the northern end of the 12-mile radius around Sarajevo a week after fighting in the same area almost provoked NATO air strikes against both factions.

Across the nation

SNOOZE: A 4-year-old dozed away under a pile of blankets as family, friends and police searched her home and neighborhood in Huntington, W.Va. She didn't even wake up when the bed was lifted up to see if she was underneath. Kimberly Smith told her family Sunday night that she was going to her room but went to her grandmother's bedroom instead. Thus began a three-hour search. Kimberly snoozed through it all, even when the bed she was on was lifted up, said her grandmother, Donna Scarberry. Scarberry found Kimberly early Monday after she saw something moving on the bed.

SUSPENDED: A TV station yanked the Rev. Jerry Falwell off the air after viewers complained that his sexually explicit discussion of allegations against President Clinton crossed the line from religion to politics. WTLV-TV in Jacksonville, Fla., suspended the "Old Time Gospel Hour" Monday and will cancel it if Falwell continues to focus more on politics than religion.

LESSON? The father of a 2-year-old boy told police in Long Beach, Calif., that he was just trying to teach his son how to swim when he tossed him from a second-story balcony into the deep end of a swimming pool. The boy's adult cousin, Tony Wofford, saw what happened Monday afternoon and dived into the pool. The boy was shaken but otherwise fine. Michael Dwayne Willis Sr., 20, was arrested for investigation of child endangerment and was being held on $50,000 bail, police said.

In Washington

TRADE: Under the threat of U.S. sanctions, Japan and the United States have begun stepping away from a possible trade spat that could bring jitters to international currency markets. On Tuesday in Washington, the two sides agreed to better coordinate their patent systems as part of an intellectual property rights area included in broad trade framework negotiations. They also agreed to resume talks on two controversial areas of the framework effort - boosting Japan's government purchases of medical and communications gear and opening Tokyo's insurance market to foreign firms.