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Northern Ireland

BELFAST - Britain's governor for Northern Ireland launched a bid Monday to reform the province's largely Protestant police, a force that Roman Catholic militants despise.

Thailand

BANGKOK - About 5,000 disgruntled farmers on Monday began marching from Thailand's impoverished northeastern provinces to Bangkok to demand more government assistance.

Cyprus

NICOSIA - Incumbent conservative President Glafcos Clerides will face off independent challenger George Iakovou as Cyprus gears up for a repeat presidential election on Feb. 15 after an inconclusive first round on Sunday.

Cambodia

PHNOM PENH - Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk on Monday blasted the European Union for funding the country's coming elections without requiring the participation of his son, deposed co-Premier Prince Norodom Ranariddh.

Iran

TEHRAN - An earthquake measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale shook western Iran on Monday, but there were no initial reports of casualties.

Indonesia

JAKARTA - A member of Kuwait's royal family has been stabbed in a hotel in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, police said Monday.

Russia

MOSCOW - Five Polish aid workers, kidnapped in Russia's breakaway Chechnya republic at the end of last year, were released Monday, Interfax news agency reported.

Iceland

REYKJAVIK - Iceland's sole Nobel laureate, author and playwright Halldor Laxness, has died at the age of 95.

Colombia

BOGOTA - Leftist rebels dynamited Colombia's Cano Limon pipeline for the seventh time this year, paralyzing all pumping operations and spilling at least 15,000 barrels of crude oil.

Peru

LIMA - Mudslides sparked by heavy El Nino rains have damaged parts of Peru's Nazca Lines, the mysterious symbols and animal figures that Indians etched into the ground centuries ago.

Vietnam

HANOI - A war-era bomb exploded in central Vietnam as residents were trying to defuse it for scrap iron, killing six people and injuring four others, police reported Monday.

South Korea

SEOUL - Four North Koreans working in the former Soviet Union defected to South Korea and arrived in Seoul Monday, South Korean officials said.

England

LONDON - Enoch Powell, a former government minister best known for his 1968 "Rivers of Blood" speech on the dangers of immigration, has died at age 85.

China

BEIJING - The elderly parents of Wang Bingzhang, a democracy campaigner believed to be under arrest in China, begged authorities Monday to allow their son to return home unharmed.

Australia

CANBERRA - A constitutional convention voted Monday to ensure that any change to make Australia a republic takes place by the centennial of its federation on Jan. 1, 2001.

Japan

TOKYO - Japan is planning to begin test flights for a supersonic passenger jet prototype by 2001.