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KUALA LUMPUR - Riot police used water canons to disperse thousands of anti-government demonstrators gathered at a mosque for another rally demanding political reforms.


JESSE - A pipeline fire that has been burning since an explosion over the weekend in Nigeria that killed hundreds was finally extinguished. State radio has put the death toll at 700, but some local officials expect it will eventually reach 1,000.


HANOI - The government is freeing 2,630 prison inmates under a presidential amnesty, the second big release in less than two months, a government source said.


LONDON - Britain is preparing a lavish welcome for Carlos Menem, the first Argentine pres-i-dent to visit since the two countries went to war in 1982 over the Falkland Islands. Britain won the war in 74 days.


BANGKOK - The national film board has recommended against allowing a new version of "The King and I" to be filmed in the country because it insults the monarchy, a newspaper said. The new film by 20th Century Fox, starring Jodie Foster and Chow Yun Fat and called "Anna and The King" is a remake of the 1956 Hollywood musical.


CAIRO - A fire that began when residents set fire to piles of trash has gutted a gem of Muslim architecture in Old Cairo, the Palace of Musafirkhana.

South Africa

CAPE TOWN - Police said they had ruled out any link between the bomb blast in August at the U.S.-franchised Planet Hollywood restaurant and U.S. attacks on targets in Sudan and Afghanistan.


GABORONE - Police said that 18 people suffocated in a closed truck as they tried to cross the border into South Africa this week.


ZAGREB - A South African man working under contract for the United Nations in Croatia was killed when a mine exploded near the coastal town of Zadar earlier this week, the U.N. said.


MOSCOW - China protested against a visit to Taiwan by a delegation of Russian parliamentarians led by ultra-nationalist leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky.


KHARTOUM - The government says it has offered Congolese President Laurent Kabila political support in his battle against a rebel uprising but has not sent troops to his country.


PHNOM PENH - A top U.N. human rights official, Thomas Hammarberg, said there has been no sign of improvement in human rights in Cambodia.


PANAMA CITY - The government will reject a recent proposal that could lead to a U.S. military presence in this Central American country after the year 2000, the Foreign Ministry said.


VENICE - One of Venice's oldest noble families was robbed of the jewel of its art collection: a painting by Canaletto valued at $2.5 million.


BUCHAREST - Prime Minister Radu Vasile said there were hopes for renegotiating with Canadian officials a plan to enable work to be completed at the country's second Canadian-designed nuclear reactor.