AFRICA

Holbrooke Sees Hope for Peace in Congo

HARARE, Zimbabwe--U.N. envoy Richard C. Holbrooke was upbeat on the prospects for peace in Congo after meeting Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, one of the key players in the 18-month conflict.

Holbrooke said the talks focused on Congo, where Mugabe has deployed about 11,000 troops--a third of his army--to help President Laurent Kabila fight rebels backed by Rwanda and Uganda.

ASIA

Pakistani Police Detain 2 Linked to Killer

LAHORE, Pakistan--In pursuit of a self-confessed killer of 100 children, Pakistani police have detained two men who admitted they had sex with many of the alleged serial killer's victims.

Police are hunting for a man who sent a letter to them last week saying he killed the children, then disposed of their bodies in acid. The man identified himself as Javed Iqbal.

Meanwhile, police have two men in custody who say they are friends of Iqbal.

The two men confessed that they had sexually assaulted 25 of the children, but both denied killing their captives, according to police spokesman Ashiq Marath.

Many of the children, who ranged in age from 7 to 16, were among the country's poorest and worked on the streets in Punjab's provincial capital, Lahore.

Corruption Case Against Suharto Reopens

JAKARTA, Indonesia--Indonesia will reopen a corruption case against former president Suharto after new information against him came to light, Attorney General Marzuki Darusman said.

Suharto, 78, was pushed from power last year amid growing political and economic chaos. He has been accused of amassing a multibillion dollar fortune while in office; he has denied these charges. Under his 32-year rule, Indonesia became one of the world's most corrupt countries and scandals continue to be unearthed.

109 Killed as Heavy Rains Hit Vietnam

HANOI--A month after Vietnam's worst flooding of the century, the country is being besieged by rains that have killed 109 people and left more than a million homeless, officials and state newspapers reported.

Heavy rains have dumped more than six feet of water on some central coastal areas in the past five days, stranding thousands of train travelers and motorists on the country's main highway. Authorities say 22 people are missing.

Three helicopters dropped food in the hard-hit provinces of Quang Nam and Quang Ngai, air force officials said. In Quang Ngai alone, authorities estimated 200,000 people needed emergency supplies.

EUROPE

EU Fuel Trucks Arrive in Yugoslavia

NIS, Yugoslavia--The first trucks carrying European Union fuel to aid opponents of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic arrived here today after being held up at the Yugoslav border for almost two weeks.

Three of the 14 trucks rolled into Nis, which is controlled by Milosevic's Serbian opponents, and other trucks were on their way. The first truck went directly to the Nis heating plant.

The EU aid plan is to encourage the opposition and further isolate Milosevic, as well as to provide badly needed heating fuel as winter sets in.

The trucks had been held up at the border since Nov. 24 while customs officials found a series of bureaucratic problems, and it was unclear whether the decision to allow the trucks to reach Nis signaled a significant step forward in the EU's bid to deliver the heating fuel.

N. Ireland's Legislature Gets Pay Raise

BELFAST--Just days after a historic move to create a power-sharing government for Northern Ireland, legislators used their new authority yesterday to give themselves a pay raise of nearly 30 percent.

The debate produced an unlikely coalition of Sinn Fein, the party allied with the Irish Republican Army, and a small pro-British Protestant party, which protested the large size of the increase.

The assembly, meeting for the first time since local government powers were restored last week, voted to raise the base pay of the 108 members from the equivalent of $47,000 to $60,800.

Yeltsin Returns Home From the Hospital

MOSCOW--Russian President Boris Yeltsin returned to the Kremlin after a week's stay in a hospital, and his aides said he would travel to China as scheduled on Wednesday. Yeltsin, 68, fell ill last month with what the Kremlin said was bronchitis. Doctors sent him to the Central Clinical Hospital on Nov. 29 after diagnosing possible pneumonia.

THE MIDDLE EAST

Remains of Israeli Soldiers Found

JERUSALEM--The bodies of two Israeli soldiers missing since the 1973 Middle East War have been recovered near the Suez Canal, the Israeli army said.

The bodies of Cpl. Leon Cohen and Cpl. Mordechai Nadiv were found under more than 10 feet of sandy ground, 26 years after they fell among the war's first victims. The two were killed when an Egyptian missile struck their tank on Oct. 7, 1973, the second day of fighting, the army said.

Their tank was captured and transported from the site of the attack by the Egyptians, making the exact locations of the bodies difficult to pinpoint. The search was reinvigorated by Israeli President Ezer Weizman's recent efforts to coordinate with Egyptian authorities and his good relations with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Israel to Keep Mosque Entrance Open

JERUSALEM--Despite allegations that the government is bowing to Palestinian pressure, Israel will not close a new entrance to an underground prayer hall in the Al Aqsa mosque compound, a cabinet minister said.

Haim Ramon, an Israeli government minister, said the opening in the Marwani mosque is necessary to ensure the safety of Muslim worshipers, who are expected to flock to the site in East Jerusalem during the holy month of Ramadan, which begins this week.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"They [the Swiss] could have solved this problem a long time ago if they really wanted to."

-- Paul Volcker, former Federal Reserve Board chairman and head of independent panel investigating whether Swiss banks hoarded the wealth of Holocaust victims --Page A1