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Around the world

VISIT: The prime ministers of Japan and South Korea will visit Vietnam for the first time since the end of the Vietnam War, the Foreign Affairs Ministry announced Thursday. The exact timing of the visits planned for later this month is still being discussed, ministry spokeswoman Ho The Lan told a news conference. Japan's Tomiichi Murayama and South Korea's Lee Young-duk will hold talks with Vietnamese counterpart Vo Van Kiet and meet Vietnam's Communist Party Secretary-General Do Muoi and President Le Duc Anh, Lan said. The visits by the highest officials from those countries since the war mark further progress in Vietnam's diplomatic and economic reintegration into the world following its postwar isolation from most non-communist countries.BLESSING: They're blessing businesses, marketing mineral water - even taking money for sprinkling holy water over cars. The Russian Orthodox Church, short of funds after decades under the thumb of official Soviet atheism, has found the capitalist spirit. While some priests in Moscow object to selling their authority on the street, others are reaping rubles blessing apartments, bars, even casinos.

Across the nation

KISS AND . . . : Helen Carson told her husband she wanted to kiss and make up after they had a fight. Apparently she wasn't that forgiving - she bit off the end of his tongue. The inch or more that was bitten off John Carson's tongue was stitched back on at a hospital in Kingsport, Tenn., Tuesday evening. "According to him, they were making up and kissing," said Deputy Police Chief Mark Addington. "I guess one of them didn't have their heart in the making up."

DRUG BUST: Authorities in New York raced to the fourth floor of a smoky Manhattan building and found 400 burning marijuana plants. "The joint was rolling in cannabis," said Detective Andrew McInnis, a police spokesman. No one was in the apartment in the Soho neighborhood when police and firefighters got there. Police removed the plants and destroyed them."It appeared that the apartment was used solely as a greenhouse for the plants," McInnis said.

In Washington

EVIDENCE: The Clinton administration says there is evidence Colombia's drug chieftains made financial contributions to the campaign of President-elect Ernesto Samper, who will be sworn in Sunday. Samper has strongly denied the allegations. At a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on inter-American affairs, Assistant Secretary of State Robert Gelbard was asked by Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., about the allegations. Going further than the administration had previously, Gelbard said "the totality of the evidence . . . would cause one to think there was a certain amount of credence to the reports."