BEIJING - The country's annual flood season began earlier than usual this year because of El Nino and already has killed 273 people and left more than 20,000 sick or injured, state media reported.


MEXICO CITY - The governor of Chiapas has proposed redistricting the southern state in areas where support for leftist rebels runs high.


KUALA LUMPUR - Since the worsening of the Asian economic crisis, Malaysia has deported 30,000 Indonesians found working without valid papers this year.


MELBOURNE - The new owners of Canberra Airport plan to upgrade it into an international airport for a limited number of overseas flights.

Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN - Braving the ire of constituents on this poor Caribbean island, lawmakers have voted themselves a hefty 50 percent pay raise.


ULAN BATOR - Mongolia Airlines has grounded all of its Chinese-made Yun-12 aircraft after one of them crashed this week, killing all 28 people aboard, including 12 children.


BRATISLAVA - Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar rejected pleas by Austria's Chancellor Viktor Klima to postpone the startup of the Mochovce nuclear power station, the official news agency TASR reported.


ROME - The lower house of parliament voted down no-confidence motions in the justice and interior ministers.


HARARE - Riot police fired tear gas and beat students to break up a protest against President Robert Mugabe's rule, witnesses said.


JERUSALEM - Two years after winning power by the slimmest of margins, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's public support is as tenuous as it was on election day, according to a new Gallup poll.


PARIS - In a vote expected to infuriate Turkey, Parliament passed a bill recognizing the 1915 killings of Armenians by Turks as genocide.

Vatican City

Pope John Paul will meet a group of Cuban bishops in June to discuss the effects of his trip to the communist island on the Roman Catholic Church there, the Vatican said.


LONDON - Buckingham Palace denied reports of a rift with Princess Diana's blood family after it became known the two sides will mark the first anniversary of her death on Aug. 31 hundreds of miles apart.


BONN - The government said it has no plans to impose economic sanctions on Pakistan after the Asian nation conducted its first nuclear tests.


TAIPEI - The Defense Ministry denied charges by Beijing that it was linked to four Taiwan businessmen arrested for espionage on the Chinese mainland.


BOGOTA - At least seven Colombian soldiers were killed in a firefight with leftist rebels as they flew into an eastern area of the country to provide security for this weekend's presidential election.


SARAJEVO - NATO-led forces arrested a Bosnian Serb indicted for war crimes committed in the infamous Omarska internment camp.