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MOSCOW - More than 30,000 people have been left without heat in subfreezing temperatures in Russia's Far East because local authorities are running out of heating fuel and don't have the money to purchase more.


KATMANDU- Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa survived a no-confidence vote, but his success is unlikely to bring stable government to the Himalayan kingdom, analysts said.


LAGOS - A Nigerian rights group said 1997 was the worst year ever for local journalists, with 40 reported to be arrested or detained by security forces.

Czech Republic

PRAGUE - President Vaclav Havel, who underwent minor throat surgery after being admitted to a hospital with a viral infection, will probably be allowed to go home on Sunday, his doctors said.


ISLAMABAD - A strong earthquake hit northwestern Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan Friday, sending Islamabad residents running into the streets of the capital and causing still-undetermined damage in provincial towns.


TBILISI - The government negotiated for the release of 10 hostages, including four U.N. military observers, but their kidnappers insisted on freedom for suspects held in the recent attempt to kill the country's president.


BEIJING - Traffic accidents in China killed an average of 190 people each day last year, state radio said. About 70,000 people were killed and 190,000 injured in 300,000 traffic accidents last year, it said.

Sri Lanka

COLOMBO - Newspaper editors expressed concern over a government decision to ban the publication of photographs of people killed or wounded in bomb blasts.


ROME - The upper house of parliament stamped the final seal of approval on a tough immigration law that will allow the immediate expulsion of people entering the country illegally.


KIGALI - Nine people were killed when Hutu rebels attacked a Rwandan tea factory near the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, officials said.

South Africa

JOHANNESBURG - The ruling African National Congress started a three-day political and economic strategy meeting at a secret venue in Johannesburg, officials said.


BRATISLAVA - President Michal Kovac announced a re-run on April 19 of a bungled referendum last May on changing the method of selecting a new president to a direct vote of the people.


AMSTERDAM - Schiphol airport said it had closed its viewing terrace to the public after anti-noise protesters used the observation area to gain access to the roof of a KLM passenger jet.


BONN - Some 60 members of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Ban Landmines protested outside the U.S. Rhein-Main airbase in Frankfurt.


JAKARTA - The government asked major Western powers for assistance in its economic crisis, which has caused spreading unrest through the archipelago of 200 million people.