ASIA

Wahid Begins Building a Government

JAKARTA, Indonesia--Indonesia's new president got down to business yesterday, taking the first steps toward assembling a cabinet and devising a plan to cure Indonesia's economic malaise.

There was little opportunity for Abdurrahman Wahid to rest or celebrate his election victory just 48 hours earlier, only pressure to convince international investors and lenders that he will choose the right advisers. The ailing 59-year-old Muslim intellectual is to make his first public address on Sunday in Bali, a stronghold of Vice President Megawati Sukarnoputri.

New Earthquake Strikes in Taiwan

CHIAYI, Taiwan--Spared by last month's devastating quake, this southern Taiwanese city's luck ran out when a strong tremor struck, damaging several homes and injuring 254 people. No deaths were reported.

The damage from the 6.4 magnitude quake was minor compared with the destruction caused by the powerful temblor that killed more than 2,300 in central Taiwan one month ago. The two quakes were unrelated, seismologists said.

Chinese Court Jails Official for Espionage

BEIJING--Courts in the southwest Chinese province of Sichuan have sentenced a local official to 10 years in prison for spying for Taiwan and are trying three other espionage cases, an official said.

Wang Ping, 28, was arrested in July and convicted by a court in Nanchong on Monday of "stealing military intelligence" for Taiwan's security apparatus, said the official, who asked not to be identified.

South Korea Returns 2 Boats From North

SEOUL--South Korea said today it had returned a North Korean tug and barge its navy had detained for crossing into South Korean waters yesterday.

The Defense Ministry said 14 North Koreans on the vessels had told investigators they strayed into South Korean waters in the Yellow Sea west of the Korean peninsula after their compass broke amid thick fog.

EUROPE

Mitchell Urges More Talks in Belfast

LONDON--Former senator George Mitchell called for a final round of multiparty talks today in Belfast but participants expressed deep pessimism about his chances of reviving the Good Friday peace process in Northern Ireland.

Mitchell reluctantly went back to Belfast last month to try to revive the ambitious peace plan he brokered on Easter weekend in 1998. But none of the parties offered any significant compromise to break the deadlock.

Iranian President Plans Visit to France

PARIS--Iranian President Mohammed Khatemi will visit France next week at the invitation of President Jacques Chirac. It will be the second trip to Western Europe by an Iranian leader since the country's 1979 Islamic revolution.

Khatemi will meet with Chirac, Prime Minister Lionel Jospin and Christian Poncelet, the president of the French Senate, during the three-day visit starting Wednesday, Chirac's office announced.

Fire in Vienna Disco Injures 74

VIENNA--Fire swept through a disco in a town northwest of Vienna and up to 74 people were injured, some seriously.

Red Cross officials said 70 people were taken to various hospitals and four were treated at the scene.

About 200 people, most of them teenagers, were in the Joy Disco when the fire erupted shortly before midnight Friday.

THE AMERICAS

Colombian Journalist Assassinated

BOGOTA, Colombia--A Colombian journalist was shot and killed after being kidnapped from his home in an area dominated by right-wing paramilitary gangs, authorities said.

Roberto Julio Torres, 38, was the fourth journalist killed in Colombia in the last two months and one of more than 120 murdered since 1980, according to the Bogota-based Committee for the Protection of Colombian Journalists.

AFRICA

Appeals Court Allows Anti-Rape Ad

JOHANNESBURG--An appeals panel ruled that an anti-rape commercial featuring actress Charlize Theron was acceptable for television and should not be banned. Presiding Judge Mervyn King said the Advertising Standards Committee, which censored the ad, was wrong in saying it discriminated against men.

Burundi Rebels Kill Villagers

BUJUMBURA, Burundi--Hutu rebels killed more than 30 people in an attack on a village northeast of Burundi's capital, the army said.

The raid at Mpehe village near Muramvya, about 25 miles from the capital Bujumbura, occurred early Thursday, military spokesman Longin Minani said. He said some victims were shot and others were hacked to death with machetes.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"The United States is good. We try to do our best everywhere."

-- Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, speaking to victims of the August 1998 bombing of the U.S. embassy in Nairobi.