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MONTREAL -- A Quebec union representing about 47,000 nurses launched a wildcat strike on Saturday morning, following 14 months of negotiations with the provincial government over wages and working conditions.


HONG KONG -- China's reinterpretation of Hong Kong's post-colonial constitution was greeted with dismay by observers in Hong Kong, who said it undermined the territory's judicial autonomy.

BEIJING -- Its gray stones have been replaced with light pink granite, grass has been seeded and, after eight months under wraps, China is nearly ready to unveil a newly renovated Tiananmen Square.

BEIJING -- Police have tortured a Chinese labor rights campaigner to get him to confess to organizing protests and joining an outlawed opposition party, a human rights group reported Saturday.


KABUL -- Afghanistan's ruling Taliban movement showered Kabul on Saturday with anti-drugs leaflets appealing for international help in eradicating the country's massive opium production.


BEIRUT -- Lebanon began rebuilding after the worst Israeli air strikes in three years wrecked bridges, shattered highways and badly damaged Beirut power stations.


ADDIS ABABA -- Ethiopian aircraft bombed the airport at the Eritrean port of Assab, severely damaging the runway, the government said.


CHITTAGONG -- Monsoon rains inundated the port city of Chittagong and nearby villages in southern Bangladesh on Saturday, sweeping away a man and a 5-year-old girl, officials said.


PHNOM PENH -- Prime Minister Hun Sen urged farmers Saturday to stop planting marijuana.


PRAGUE -- Several members of the Cabinet have tried to discourage President Vaclav Havel from visiting Kosovo on Sunday, Czech media reported.


ROME -- Jiri Pelikan, a former communist who was stripped of his citizenship by Czechoslovakia after the failed attempt at sweeping government reform in 1968, died on Saturday in a Rome hospital.


BEIJING, China -- Straining already tense talks, North Korea insisted Saturday that South Korea apologize for a naval skirmish in the Yellow Sea before it will carry out any agreements from their highest level negotiations in 14 months.


VATICAN CITY -- Pope John Paul II expressed solidarity with victims of sexual abuse by clergy Saturday but insisted such scandals are no reason to drop celibacy requirements for priests.


CAIRO -- An Egyptian police officer accused a Saudi prince and his bodyguards Saturday of assaulting him and his friends.


LUSAKA -- A peace summit to end Congo's civil war was postponed Saturday as negotiators wrangled over conditions for a cease-fire. Outside mediators still hoped to salvage a deal "within days."


LOME -- Amid new signs that Sierra Leone's bloody civil war soon could end, Nigeria and Togo issued a solemn call Saturday for "national reconciliation" between the rebels and the government.