Sri Lanka

COLOMBO - Government warplanes bombed a flotilla of separatist Tamils, killing at least 60 guerrillas, a newspaper reported.

Cambodia

PHNOM PENH - Government claims that the Khmer Rouge's final jungle stronghold has fallen and its leaders have fled to Thailand are without basis, the rebel group said.

Pakistan

ISLAMABAD - Cement barricades manned by troops with automatic rifles have been erected outside the U.S. Embassy following what officials said were "credible information" of terrorist threats.

China

BEIJING - A natural gas leak caused an explosion that sparked fires in nearby coal mines in southwest Sichuan province, killing 11 miners and poisoning another 24.

BEIJING - The government plans a $14 billion face lift ahead of next year's 50th anniversary of the birth of the Communist state.

Mexico

MEXICO CITY - Police backed by the military raided and seized eight luxury properties allegedly belonging to a drug cartel in the northern city of Ciudad Juarez, across from Texas, officials said.

Thailand

MAE SOT - At least 50 people were killed inside Myanmar (Burma) when Karen National Union rebels launched a revenge attack on the camp of a breakaway faction, Thai border police said.

India

NEW DELHI - The Supreme Court admitted an appeal by 26 people condemned to death for the 1991 assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, a court source said.

England

LONDON - The government dismissed as speculation a report that Prime Minister Tony Blair would spend a night in Gaza to show his support for an independent Palestinian state.

Japan

TOKYO - The jobless rate rose to a record 3.6 percent in February from 3.5 percent a month earlier as the nation's economic ills took their toll on employment in manufacturing and construction, the government said.

Northern Ireland

BELFAST - The powerful pro-British Protestant Orange Order said it aimed to hold annual parades this year of the kind that have provoked serious rioting in the past.

France

PARIS - Prime Minister Lionel Jospin is set to unveil minor changes to his cabinet on March 31, including abolition of the post of government spokesman, the daily newspaper Le Monde reported.

Italy

ROME - A moderately strong earthquake rattled central Italy Thursday, panicking residents still recovering from a devastating quake last fall. There were no reports of injury or major damage.

Turkey

ANKARA - Civilian leaders briefed Turkey's powerful generals on efforts to curb Islamic extremism. Reports suggested the government was working on new measures to appease the military.

Brazil

BRASILIA - The government assembled an emergency task force in an effort to improve firefighting efforts in the Amazon amid growing criticism of its reaction to huge forest and savannah fires.

Bosnia-Herzegovina

SARAJEVO - More than 200 women from across the nation gathered here at a conference to promote their role in politics and the country's peace process.