New Zealand

AUCKLAND - New Zealand's largest city of Auckland on Wednesday got an assurance of full power supply after struggling through last month on emergency supplies.


NEW DELHI - U.S. assistant secretary of state Karl Inderfurth praised an Indian charity organization Wednesday for helping land-mine victims.


SINGAPORE - Heavy rains are moistening parts of Asia, but weather experts said on Wednesday they were not enough to put out Southeast Asia's raging forest fires or end its steadily worsening drought.


SURIN - The Thai army will block any attempt by hard-line remnants of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge guerrillas to retreat into Thai territory, a senior Thai army officer said Wednesday.


ATHENS - Greenpeace activists faced charges of trespassing and disturbing the peace on Wednesday after blockading a major Greek food company to protest against genetically altered crops.


BEIJING - China is cracking down on the illegal production of ephedrine, the main ingredient of the drug "ice," Xinhua news agency reported.


MELBOURNE - Australia's second-biggest stevedoring company shut down its operations at one of the country's busiest ports on Wednesday as the nation's bitter waterfront dispute again flared into violence.


LILLE - A record 357,900 ecstasy tablets were seized at the Channel Tunnel terminal in the French port of Calais, police said Wednesday.


MOSCOW - President Boris Yeltsin decided to sign a bill that would require Russia to keep artworks looted by the Soviet army from Nazi Germany but immediately appealed to the country's courts to overturn the law.


ISLAMABAD - While Afghanistan's Taliban rulers welcome their highest-ranking U.S. visitor ever, they say one topic is off-limits when U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson arrives Friday: their harboring of a man suspected of bank-rolling Islamic extremists worldwide.


JERUSALEM - Israel released a leader of a radical PLO faction after holding him nearly six years without charges or trial.


ANKARA - Turkish commandos chased hundreds of Kurdish rebels in southeastern Turkey and killed 62 guerrillas following the capture of a senior rebel commander, according to a news account.

South Korea

SEOUL - Bankrupt Kia Motors Corp., South Korea's third-largest carmaker, was placed under court receivership as the government stepped up efforts to weed out debt-ridden conglomerates.


TEHRAN - Tehran's mayor will be freed from detention, Iranian officials said a day after riot police clashed with thousands of protesters demanding the mayor's release.


NORTHAMPTON - Princess Diana's brother says he feels "battered" by accusations that he is profiteering from her death by opening up the family estate to paying tourists.


VATICAN CITY - Pope John Paul II's papal ring slipped off his hand during a handshake with an enthusiastic admirer in St. Peter's Square and was quickly retrieved by a Swiss Guard, RAI state TV reported.