ASIA

India Might Consider Cross-Border Strike

NEW DELHI -- India raised the possibility yesterday of its forces crossing into Pakistan's portion of Kashmir, the Himalayan territory claimed by both countries.

India's army chief of staff, Gen. Ved Prakash Malik, said crossing the Line of Control between Indian- and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir could become an option but would need the approval of the government. "We review the situation all the time, and I believe that if it becomes necessary to cross the Line of Control in the supreme national interest, the matter will be taken up in the cabinet," Malik said.

Indian Home Minister L.K. Advani said the country should be prepared for an all-out war, and Pakistan said it was heightening security in case of an Indian air attack. But a Pakistani military spokesman said "we want to make it clear that it's not that war is imminent or it's around the corner."

S. Korean Court Sentences Ex-President's Son

SEOUL -- A son of former president Kim Young Sam was sentenced to serve two years in prison and ordered to forfeit $1.31 million on bribery and tax evasion charges.

Kim Hyun Chul, 39, was convicted in 1997 and later sentenced to three years in prison and a fine of $1.63 million, but on appeal the Supreme Court ordered a retrial of two minor criminal counts. The high court then overturned one of those convictions and upheld the other.

Only Known Afghan Rabbi Emerges From Jail

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Afghanistan's only known rabbi said he spent 45 days in jail because a man who offered him safe passage to Israel turned him in for practicing magic.

Earlier this week, U.S.-based Jewish activists said they had reports that the rabbi, Yitzhak Levi, and another Jewish man, Aaron Simantov, had been arrested by the hard-line Taliban Islamic militia, which controls most of Afghanistan.

But Levi said Tuesday that it was Simantov who had him arrested after Levi accused him of trying to steal a Torah scroll. Levi, who was released from jail this month, said Simantov told the Taliban police that women regularly visit Levi to have their palms read or acquire potions.

Levi is well-known in Kabul for his potions and palm reading. He was arrested on similar charges last year.

THE MIDDLE EAST

Explorer Says Shipwrecks Oldest Yet Found

TEL AVIV -- Using the same techniques he used to locate the Titanic, explorer Bob Ballard said he has found the oldest known deep-water shipwrecks: a pair of wine-laden ships dragged to the depths of the Mediterranean during a fierce storm more than 2,500 years ago.

The Phoenician cargo ships were found using an underwater robot and deep-water tracking equipment, Ballard said at a Tel Aviv hotel overlooking the Mediterranean.

The ships' contents indicate that they set sail from the Phoenician port of Tyre -- now a city in Lebanon -- about 750 B.C. The ships were headed either for Carthage -- in modern-day Tunisia -- or Egypt. The vessels are positioned upright about 1,500 feet deep on the ocean floor, about 30 miles off the Israeli shore.

EUROPE

Russians Pass Bills Tied to IMF Money

MOSCOW -- Russian lawmakers passed bills needed to squeeze much-needed cash from the International Monetary Fund, and a top government minister said the first money could flow in July.

Members of the Communist-dominated lower house of parliament, traditionally hostile to the monetarist IMF, passed key second readings of several bills, demanded by the fund for a further $4.5 billion in loans over 18 months.

First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko, in charge of the government's economic policy, said that Russia could receive more than $600 million next month as a first installment of the aid.

German Leaders Approve Economic Reforms

BONN -- German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's cabinet approved an ambitious economic reform package, including lower corporate taxes and what the government bills as its biggest postwar spending cuts.

The government wants to boost a slowing economy, fight double-digit unemployment and stabilize the fledgling 11-nation euro currency with the plan.

Schroeder urged his compatriots to accept painful austerity measures, saying that everyone had to sacrifice for what he called "a new start in our society."

More Arrests in Omagh Bombing Case

DUBLIN -- Irish police said they had made two further arrests in connection with last year's Omagh bombing, which killed 29 people in the deadliest single attack of the Northern Irish conflict.

Two men were detained in Dundalk, close to the border with Northern Ireland, a police spokesman said. The men were being held under the Offences Against the State Act, he added.

A total of seven people are being questioned by police on both sides of the Irish border following a series of raids over the weekend. All but one of the nine arrested in Ireland have been released without charge.

THE AMERICAS

Heroin Smuggling Ring Broken Up in Canada

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Police have broken up a major ring of smugglers who allegedly conspired to bring heroin from Asia to Canada and the United States, authorities said.

At least 11 people have been arrested or are sought in connection with the scheme to smuggle heroin from Burma through Thailand to Canada from 1997 until this year, according to police and media reports. A prosecutor said it appears to be the biggest heroin smuggling operation in Canadian history.

FOR THE RECORD

PARIS -- France's highest court rejected a final appeal by Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, known as Carlos the Jackal, who is serving a life sentence for the 1975 murders of two French secret agents and an alleged informer.

AMSTERDAM -- At the United Nations' top court, Congo filed a case against Burundi, Uganda and Rwanda, demanding immediate and unconditional withdrawal from its territory.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"Serbs are an unsentimental people. We do not care about ourselves, let alone others."

Vesna Petrovic, of the Belgrade Center for Human Rights -- Page A1