TUNIS, Tunisia - Russian ultra-nationalist leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky held talks with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on ties between their two countries, Libya's state-run television reported.


NEW DELHI - India's new government wants to take a more assertive stance in nuclear defense policy and move toward economic nationalism, prime minister-designate Atal Behari Vajpayee said. BOMBAY - Rescue workers in Bombay on Wednesday used bulldozers to search for at least six people thought trapped in a collapsed building as the death toll rose to 13, rescue officials said.


TEHRAN - Nineteen Iranian women, including 16 medical students, were killed when their bus collided with a trailer in southern Iran, the official news agency IRNA said.

GENEVA, Switzerland - Exiled opponents of the Iranian government said on Wednesday four men were hanged in public for alleged drug offences in the town of Sari earlier this month.


TAIPEI - A Taiwan airliner carrying 13 people vanished from radar over the Taiwan strait minutes after takeoff Wednesday and rescuers were searching the night-time sea for survivors, authorities said.


DOHA, Qatar - Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf Wednesday attacked the United States for maintaining large forces in the Persian Gulf, saying Washington intended "to plunder" the oil-rich region.


KIEV - An American died of injuries sustained in a bout of no-holds-barred "ultimate fighting," a mix of martial arts, wrestling and boxing.

Costa Rica

SAN JOSE - Commerce ministers from across the Americas were due to start trickling into the Costa Rican capital Wednesday while their deputies already meeting there remained at odds over a hemisphere-wide free trade zone.


BANGKOK - Thai shelling across the Myanmar border killed seven Myanmar-allied guerrillas and wounded 20, a Thai general said.


MOSCOW - Russian President Boris Yeltsin remained out of public view for the sixth day on Wednesday after retreating to a residence outside Moscow with a respiratory infection.

N. Ireland

BELFAST - Hardline Protestant guerrillas of the Loyalist Volunteer Force claimed re-spon-sibility on Wednesday for a failed bombing in Northern Ireland.


RABAT - Two planes and a dozen ships searched on Wed-nesday for 10 crewman missing from a Spanish fishing boat that capsized off the coast of Morocco.


WARSAW - Gdansk is planning a museum on the origins of Poland's dissident movement, to be housed at the bankrupt shipyard where Solidarity was born.


BOGOTA - Police have seized four metric tons of cocaine and destroyed a clandestine drugs laboratory in the jungles of eastern Colombia, authorities said Wednesday.


BONN - German Chancellor Helmut Kohl's Christian Democrats have fallen far behind the rival Social Democrats six weeks ahead of a key state election, according to a survey.