Britain

LONDON - A trust devoted to conserving the heritage of German-born composer Georg Friedrich Handel said on Wednesday it had raised 500,000 pounds ($835,000) to convert his former London home into a museum.

LONDON - Police said Wednesday they had blown up a suspicious motorcycle outside a building in central London where Prince Charles, Britain's heir to the throne, had been due to attend a function.

India

NEW DELHI - Hollywood star Richard Gere launched an AIDS awareness program in New Delhi on Wednesday aimed at easing the suffering of the estimated 5 million Indians who have the AIDS virus.

CALCUTTA - A Roman Catholic priest attached to Mother Teresa's missionary order and two other men have been found murdered in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, one of the priest's colleagues said on Wednesday.

Spain

SAN SEBASTIAN - Bombs exploded at the homes of four local ruling-party politicians in Spain's Basque country early Wednesday in attacks blamed on the Basque separatist guerrilla group ETA.

Iraq

BAGHDAD - U.N. weapons experts and diplomats have paid second visits to some presidential sites in Iraq, a senior U.N. official said on Wednesday.

China

BEIJING - Seven people in China's northwestern region of Xinjiang have been sentenced to five to 11 years in prison for killing hundreds of takin, an endangered yak-like animal, a court official said on Wednesday.

BEIJING - U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Wednesday praised his Chinese hosts for pledging to sign a key human rights covenant but urged Beijing to take human rights "very seriously."

Indonesia

JAKARTA - Indonesia's government hit its large smoking public with cigarette price increases on Wednesday but held off cutting fuel subsidies in a move to avoid sparking social unrest.

Armenia

YEREVAN - Prime Minister Robert Kocharian was the clear winner in Armenia's presidential vote, election officials and international monitors agreed. The nation's former Soviet boss refused to concede defeat.

Russia

MOSCOW - President Boris Yeltsin has ordered the release of classified archives on Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, a spokesman said.

Israel

JERUSALEM - A senior Israeli official on Wednesday dismissed as a "gimmick" Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's high-profile visit to the Amsterdam house of Nazi Holocaust victim Anne Frank.

JERUSALEM - An Israeli writer said on Wednesday that she had received death threats from Jewish extremists following allegations that she had "glorified" Palestinian fighters in a television series on Israel's history.

Germany

BONN - Bavarian Interior Minister Guenther Beckstein called on Wednesday for tough new security measures to combat the spread of crime following the full opening of Germany's border with Austria.

Senegal

DAKAR - Hundreds of Senegalese besieged the U.S. Embassy in Dakar on Wednesday after a newspaper reported that the embassy was organizing a special immigration visa lottery to mark U.S. President Clinton's visit.