South Korea

SEOUL - The North Korean military has taken over management of the country's collective farms in an attempt to improve food production, South Korea's intelligence agency said.


TEL AVIV - A former justice minister who resigned after being charged with perjury and obstruction of justice was acquitted in a Tel Aviv court. Yaacov Neeman's acquittal could pave the way for a Cabinet shuffle.


DUBLIN - Prime Minister John Bruton called parliamentary elections for June 6, a contest likely to influence the search for peace in neighboring Northern Ireland.


LIMA - Maoist Shining Path guerrillas fought police in a poor suburb and then set off a car bomb that injured at least eight officers and caused wide-spread damage.


LONDON - New British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook will visit Washington May 18 and 19 for his first face-to-face talks with U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, the Foreign Office said.


MEXICO CITY - Teachers won a wage and benefits increase that totalled 16 percent on the eve of mass marches planned for Teachers Day, Education Minister Miguel Limon Rojas said.


SYDNEY - Police corruption is systematic and entrenched in Australia's largest force, similar to the New York police force in the early 1990s, with officers involved in the drugs trade and competing with criminals to commit crimes, an official report said.


TAIPEI - The environmental group Greenpeace intensified its call for Taiwan to junk plans to ship nuclear waste to impoverished North Korea, saying the transfer "cannot be sanctioned by a responsible government." Taiwan scoffed at Greenpeace's demand and pledged anew that dumping waste in North Korea would create no safety or environmental hazard.


HANOI - Thirteen senior executives from Vietnam's debt-torn conglomerate Minh Phung have been arrested for suspected fraud, police in Ho Chi Minh City said.

Sri Lanka

COLOMBO - Tamil Tiger separatists launched a fierce attack on Sri Lankan troops advancing north along one flank as part of a major thrust into rebel territory, military officials said.


LAGOS - The government has released a third journalist detained without charge for nearly a year, a week after two others held without trial were freed, the Vanguard newspaper reported.


DHAKA - Rebel tribal leaders failed to sign a peace agreement to end a protracted insurgency in Bangladesh's Chittagong Hill Tracts but instead flew to their base to brief the rank and file, officials said.


GJIROKASTER - An explosion rocked an ammunition dump in southern Albania, and 14 people were taken to hospitals with burns, military officials and doctors said. There was no immediate word on casualities.


SANA - In a move apparently aimed at uniting the fractious country around his government, President Ali Abdullah Saleh has named a southern official, Faraj Said Bin Ghanem, as the new prime minister.