Yushchenko Aide Quits,

Alleging Corruption

KIEV, Ukraine -- A close aide to President Viktor Yushchenko who was a chief organizer of the Orange Revolution protests said Monday that he had resigned from the government because of systemic corruption around the Ukrainian leader.

Oleksandr Zinchenko, who resigned Saturday as state secretary, said the situation had grown "even worse" than under former president Leonid Kuchma and accused several top Yushchenko aides of corruption.

THE MIDDLE EAST

* CAIRO -- Fire broke out in a crowded theater during a performance, killing at least 29 people and causing hundreds to flee the building in panic, a police official said. About 1,000 people were in the theater in Beni Suef, a city on the Nile River about 60 miles south of Cairo, when the fire broke out about 11:45 p.m., an official said. It was brought under control by fire crews.

EUROPE

* VIENNA -- A helicopter accidentally dropped a heavy tub used to carry concrete onto a cable car at a ski resort in western Austria, killing nine people, three in the gondola that was struck and six others catapulted from cable cars nearby. All the dead -- six children and three adults -- appeared to be members of a German group of summer skiers, a police official said.

* L'HAY-LES-ROSES, France -- Three teenage girls taken into custody for questioning admitted starting a fire in a suburban Paris housing project early Sunday that killed 16 people, police said. The fire in a 19-story building south of Paris was the third fatal blaze in the Paris area in nine days. The death toll rose by one after a man died late Sunday.

ASIA

* NEW DELHI -- Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met for more than two hours with a delegation from the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, the main separatist alliance in Kashmir, in the first meeting with separatists in more than a year. A government spokesman said afterward that Singh had raised the possibility of reducing troop levels in the province in return for a reduction in violence.

-- From Staff Reports

and News Services