Algeria

PARIS - Muslim rebels shelled a key garrison town south of Algiers, killing one person and wounding five others, an Algerian newspaper said.

Israel

JERUSALEM - Israeli police foiled a robbery at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the traditional burial place of Jesus in Jerusalem's walled Old City, a police spokes-woman said.

Senegal

DAKAR - Ten rebels and one soldier were killed in heavy fighting in Senegal's separatist Casamance province, officials in the southern region said.

Northern Ireland

BELFAST - Powerful Protestant leader David Trimble denounced the murder of a Roman Catholic that has cast a pall over hopes for peace in Northern Ireland.

Iraq

BAGHDAD - Iraq needs at least $2 billion to re-equip its hospitals after more than seven years of economic sanctions, Health Minister Umeed Mubarak said.

China

BEIJING - China plans to send its first astronaut into space next year to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic, the Guangzhou Daily said.

BEIJING - Saying it was trying to prevent illegal pyramid schemes, China issued an immediate ban on direct marketing. Direct marketers, including Michigan-based Amway, have become hugely popular in China in the 1990s.

Nigeria

LAGOS - Opponents of military rule threatened civil disobedience, strikes and rallies to remove strongman General Sani Abacha and thwart his transformation into a civilian president.

Sri Lanka

COLOMBO - Fresh fighting broke out between government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels in northern and eastern Sri Lanka killing at least 19 people, the defense ministry and military officials said.

Turkey

ISTANBUL - A jail sentence handed down this week to the Islamist mayor of Turkey's biggest city could deprive political Islam in this officially secular country of one of its most dynamic and successful personalities.

Denmark

COPENHAGEN - Danish abstract painter Egill Jacobsen, 87, died in Copenhagen after a long illness, Ritzau news agency reported.

Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR - The United States told Malaysia it was not ready to turn over eight Indonesian immigrants who forced their way into the U.S. embassy in Kuala Lumpur nearly two weeks ago, diplomats said.

United Nations

GENEVA - The U.N. Commission for Human Rights condemned the abduction of children in northern Uganda, largely blamed on the Christian fundamentalist Lord's Resistance Army.

Japan

TOKYO - In the first challenge of a revised Japanese textbook screening law, a court ruled Wednesday that two changes in a textbook demanded by Education Ministry screeners were illegal, Japanese media said.

TOKYO - Japan's Ministry of Finance said it will punish more than 100 of its officials for being wined and dined by representatives of businesses they regulate.

Australia

CANBERRA - Australia started work on a plan to clean up the abandoned Wilkes Antarctic base, a ghost town littered by the garbage of U.S. and Australian researchers.