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SANTIAGO - A powerful earthquake shook millions of sleeping Chileans early Wednesday, sparking widespread panic and a brief blackout in the country's major port but causing only one death, officials said.


MADRID - Spain's Supreme Court Wednesday pronounced a former Cabinet minister and 11 others guilty of kidnapping a French businessman, concluding a trial that exposed the former Socialist government's role in a dirty war against Basque separatists.


RIO DE JANEIRO - Police fired bullets and tear gas Wednesday at thousands of angry demonstrators who set up burning barricades in central Rio to protest the Brazilian government's massive sale of telephone firm Telebras.


ANKARA - Palestinian President Yasser Arafat will visit Turkey this week to hold talks on the stalled Middle East peace process, Turkish officials said Wednesday.

Sierra Leone

FREETOWN - Two international human rights groups urged the United Nations on Wednesday to act urgently to halt rebel atrocities against civilians in Sierra Leone.


BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN - The Sultan of Brunei on Wed-nes-day stripped his broth-er Prince Jefri Bolkiah of control over the oil-rich sultanate's overseas investment arm and a telecommunications empire.

South Africa

CAPE TOWN - Wouter Basson, the scientist dubbed Doctor Death by South African media, played for time on Wednesday as the Truth Commission probed his past at the head of the apartheid regime's chemical weapons program.


HONG KONG - Gas canisters exploded on a train in southwest China bringing down a railway tunnel and killing more than 80 people, a Hong Kong newspaper said Wednesday.


TOKYO - Japan's Aomori Prefecture has decided to approve some shipments of used nuclear fuel to a local storage facility, ending a long dispute with the central government, a prefectural official said Wednesday.


NEW DELHI - Eight people were killed and 19 seriously wounded in a powerful bomb explosion in the remote northeastern Indian state of Assam Wednesday, the United News of India reported.


DHAKA - Monsoon floods in Bangladesh have killed at least 140 people and left millions homeless or marooned, and the situation could worsen as more areas are affected, officials said Wednesday.


OSLO - Norway has extended its controversial whale hunt by two weeks until Aug. 14 off its northern Finnmark coast and in the Barents Sea, the Fisheries Ministry said Wednesday.


MOSCOW - President Boris Yeltsin cut short a holiday in northwest Russia on Wednesday and flew back to Moscow, saying he had to prepare for a politically tough autumn.


BERLIN - Campaigners representing former slave laborers of the once giant IG Farben chemicals group on Wednesday demanded compensation similar to that which Volkswagen has offered people forced to work for it during World War II.