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Internet Offers Personal Link to Yugoslavia

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RALEIGH — Since the NATO bombings began, the Internet has been the only means of communication for some people living in Yugoslavia -- and for their relatives and friends in other parts of the world.

The messages to a Raleigh man have been especially chilling. The crisis in Kosovo has affected the man's family.

Vsevolod Mihajlov's only link to his relatives in Belgrade is through his computer. He received an e-mail from them on Thursday, a message he was relieved to read.

"And then the next day, we get an e-mail: 'We survived the first attack,' the title of the e-mail," Mihajlov said.

Belgrade was hit 11 times during the first days of the NATO air strikes.

One bomb struck just six miles from where his relatives live.

In daily e-mail messages, they describe shelters filled with mothers and children, with empty boxes serving as chairs.

"They're living mostly in the shelter, although the life is beginning to get back to more normal. But it's a terrible thing to bomb Belgrade," he says.

Mihajlov's family is also keeping a close eye on their television sets.

The latest pictures are of a U-S fighter jet shot down 30 miles from their home.

He worries the air strikes are making a volatile situation even worse.

"The refugee who is running away doesn't care if he's running away from Serbian policeman or from an American bomb," he notes.

Mihajlov says his relatives will remain at the shelter while the air strikes continue. They braced themselves for a fifth night of attacks, which began Sunday.


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