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World datelines


TIRANA — Prime Minister Ilir Meta has agreed to reshuffle his government and tackle corruption in an attempt to end a feud within the ruling Socialist Party.


SYDNEY — Relieved firefighters said the tide had finally turned in their battle against Australia's "Black Christmas" bush fires after heavy overnight storms soaked the remaining hot spots near Sydney.


MANAMA — Around 150 unemployed Bahrainis, some holding up loaves of bread, marched in Manama in the latest of a series of demonstrations to demand jobs.


BEIJING — A former Chinese customs official has been sentenced to life in prison for embezzlement and accepting bribes and gifts, including a house, the official Xinhua News Agency said Wednesday.


PARIS — Police have arrested two additional suspects in a probe into the suspected planning in Europe of the Sept. 9 assassination of Afghan anti-Taliban commander Ahmad Shah Masood, judicial sources said Wednesday.


JAKARTA — Indonesia's military said on Wednesday it shot dead four rebels in the troubled province of Aceh during a strike called by separatist rebels to draw world attention to the decadeslong conflict in the province.

JAKARTA — A Boeing 737-300 jetliner made an emergency landing on a river on the main island of Java during a heavy rainstorm Wednesday, police and airline officials said. Police said only three out of the 54 passengers and crew aboard the plane were seriously injured when it came down on the Benjawang Solo River, 300 miles east of Jakarta.

JAKARTA — Trial began for a Malaysian man accused of trying to bomb Christians but who instead blasted his own leg and injured several others at a Jakarta shopping mall last year.


TEHRAN — An Iranian Jew convicted of spying for Israel has been freed from jail after serving a three-year sentence, a judiciary official said Wednesday. Faramarz Kashi is the second of 10 Iranian Jews convicted in July 2000 of spying for Israel to be released, said Hossein Ali Amiri, the provincial judiciary chief.


KATMANDU — Eleven people were killed and 12 wounded when a bus hit a jeep carrying villagers in Nepal on Wednesday, police said.


ABUJA — Defying a government ban, labor unions held a general strike Wednesday to protest higher fuel prices, paralyzing morning traffic in Nigeria's commercial capital and slowing economic activity in other major cities.

Northern Ireland

BELFAST — A Protestant paramilitary group that claimed responsibility for killing a Catholic letter carrier announced Wednesday that the Association, Northern Ireland's largest illegal paramilitary group — said in a statement it was disbanding as of midnight Wednesday.


LAHORE — Two unidentified men exchanged gunfire with security officials at the Lahore airport early Wednesday, wounding at least three security officials, the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan reported.


MANILA — Thousands of police and military went on full alert on Wednesday as the Philippines launched anniversary celebrations to mark "people power" revolts that dislodged former rulers Ferdinand Marcos and Joseph Estrada.

JOLO — Police drawn from the ranks of former Muslim rebels shot dead three soldiers in the southern Philippines Wednesday, taking the toll in two days of clashes to 21 and adding fuel to a rekindled revolt there.

Sri Lanka

MALLAVI — Tamil Tiger separatists said they wanted a ban on the group lifted before any peace talks with the government, a condition that helped sink a similar peace bid last year.


DIYARBAKIR —Security forces have killed two Kurdish guerrillas after clashes in southeastern Turkey.

United Nations

UNITED NATIONS — Norway intends to lead a U.N. Security Council mission to Ethiopia and Eritrea next month to warn both nations to abide by rulings on their common border, the main cause of a two-year bloody war between them.


HANOI — The remains of 137 soldiers killed in neighboring Cambodia during decades of war have been returned home for burial, an official said Wednesday.