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MOSCOW - President Boris Yeltsin hailed Russia's democratic changes and declared them irreversible in a rare newspaper interview.


MONROVIA - President Charles Taylor has signed his country's first human-rights bill, vowing to take the lead in fighting rights abuses.


DAR ES SALAAM - Military forces fired on Burundian troops massing for a cross-border attack after its soldiers had repulsed an incursion in Kigoma region, western Tan-zania.


TOKYO - Naoharu Yama-shina, the founder of Bandai Co., known for its Tamagotchi electronic pet video games, died Tuesday of respiratory failure at age 79.


LIMA - A magnitude-5.1 earthquake shook northern Peru and southern Ecuador early Tuesday, causing roofs to collapse and some panic, but there were no reports of injuries.


ALGIERS - Assailants slaughtered 16 people and kidnapped four others in a village south of the capital, an Algerian newspaper reported.


BORDEAUX - A court-appointed medical expert ruled that Maurice Papon will be fit to return on Friday to his trial for crimes against humanity in Nazi-occupied France, judicial sources said.


JAKARTA - President Suharto said his country had offered a $10 billion assistance package to help restore confidence in the rupiah currency.


AMSTERDAM - A Dutch parliamentary committee, breaking new political ground, gave its support to same-sex marriage and child adoption by gay couples.


MUTSAMUDU - Youths in the Comoran capital Moroni have assaulted natives of secessionist Anjouan island, raising fears of reprisals after Anjouan voted for secession, witnesses said.


DUBLIN - Four women and one man bid to succeed Mary Robinson as president of Ireland, a job that she has transformed in the 1990s from the ceremonial to the celebration of being Irish.


RANGOON - Riot police scuffled with supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi while trying to prevent the Nobel Peace Prize-winner from meeting with members of her political party.


CHANDIGARH - A bus driver lost control in heavy fog, plunging the vehicle into a river in northern India, police said. Two passengers died and 40 more were missing.

Bosnia Herzegovina

SARAJEVO - The United States delivered a shipment of more than a 100 howitzers to the Bosnian federation army as part of a Washington-sponsored military aid program, NATO officers said.


BOGOTA - The front-running candidate for next year's Colombian presidential election, Horacio Serpa, vowed to resign if Washington produced any proof of his alleged ties to the drug trade.


ANKARA - An Iraqi Kurd faction said its rival had launched major attacks in the early hours of Tuesday as the United States and its allies continued their efforts to bring the Kurdish conflict to a halt.