FORMER REPUBLICAN Gov. Walter J. Hickel, 71, has jumped into Alaska's gubernatorial race at the last minute as a third-party candidate. Hickel launched his surprise comeback bid Wednesday under the banner of the Alaskan Independence Party . . . A MAN CHARGED with sexually assaulting his 5-year-old grandnephew told investigators he has molested as many as 1,000 children over the past 40 years, police say. George Riley, a 57-year-old Chicago handyman, made his claim while being questioned in custody, authorities said Wednesday. He is being held on $1 million bail . . . PARAMILITARY game rangers killed four poachers, wounded and captured two more and seized the horns of nine rhinos in a gunbattle at a nature preserve in Zimbabwe, officials say.