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NEW DELHI - Separatist Tamil Tiger rebels said they beat back a Sri Lankan government offensive on a northern town, a battle that killed at least 11 soldiers and 20 rebels.

United Arab Emirates

DUBAI - A Dubai appeals court in the United Arab Emirates has upheld a death sentence passed on a Iranian man found guilty of drug trafficking and drug abuse, newspapers reported.


JAKARTA - Indonesia's former president spent his 77th birthday without the respect he once commanded as leader of the world's fourth-most-populous nation. Only a pet parrot still calls him by his former title, the Jakarta Post reported.


LAMBUNAO - A priest in Asia's only Roman Catholic country has thrown down a very public gauntlet to Pope John Paul II by taking a bride in defiance of an 800-year-old church rule of celibacy.


FAIZABAD - Aid workers said they plan to install emergency water reserves in remote villages to prevent a mass migration of earthquake victims to hard-pressed relief centers.


DIYARBAKIR - Turkish security forces have killed 37 Kurdish separatist guerrillas for the loss of one soldier in recent fighting in the southeast of the country, local officials said.


VARNA - Bulgarian port authorities were demanding guarantees before allowing a Ukrainian cruise ship to anchor on Monday, a day after its passengers rioted at sea over a change of itinerary.


ROME - Italy's ruling center-left Olive Tree coalition faced a miserable Monday of reckoning after the opposition Freedom Alliance swept the board in local elections and kicked it out of traditional "red" strongholds.


PHNOM PENH - Cambodian co-premier Hun Sen made a surprise visit to King Norodom Sihanouk at his northern residence in Siem Reap to warn of party politics undermining a key impartial constitutional body, officials said.

Czech Republic

PRAGUE - Two Czech air force jets collided and showered debris over a residential area, sending cars up in flames and injuring civilians, an air force spokesman said.


ALGIERS - Algerian troops have trapped up to 200 Moslem guerrillas in western Algeria under intense strafing by helicopter gunships and artillery bombardment, a local newspaper said.

South Africa

CAPE TOWN - South Africa's Truth Commission kicked off a week of hearings on the apartheid regime's chemical warfare program, fending off a government bid to exclude the public.


MEXICO CITY - Army troops cornered a rebel band in a rural schoolhouse in western Mexico, killing 11 people in a shootout, the military said.


TORONTO - A Canadian woman is in a London hospital with serious back injuries after she literally hit the roof on a turbulent flight home from Greece.


BANGKOK - As many as 20,000 Thais are needed as dockworkers to replace illegal foreign workers expelled from the country over the past month, the Bangkok Post reported.