Around the world

MAYOR ON TRIAL: With supporters gathered outside the courtroom, Tehran's reformist mayor went on trial Sunday for corruption, telling the judge the charges against him were lies. Gholamhossein Karbaschi pleaded not guilty to the charges, which many view as an attempt by hard-liners to discredit key officials allied with moderate Iranian President Mohammed Khatami. Kar-bas-chi ran Khatami's presidential campaign last year. In entering his plea, Karbaschi said the allegations of embezzlement, fraud and mismanagement of public funds were trumped up.

PILOTS MAKE OFFER: With their crippling strike about to enter its second week, Air France pilots late Sunday offered to fly World Cup ticket holders to France for the soccer championships. But even if accepted, the unexpected gesture was unlikely to prevent the strike affecting the globe's premier soccer event. France's flagship carrier has said it will take three days for service to return to normal once the strike ends, meaning the walkout was sure to disrupt at least the Wednesday start of the World Cup.

Across the nation

KIDNEYS AVAILABLE: Dr. Jack Kevorkian on Sunday offered up for transplant the kidneys of a man who committed suicide with his help, although it appeared doubtful the organs would be put to use. The former pathologist, who has acknowledged taking part in more than 100 suicides, would not say who removed the organs or where they were being kept. The organs were removed at 11 a.m. Sunday from a 45-year-old Las Vegas man whose body was dropped off at a hospital in Pontiac the same day, Kevorkian said. He said the kidney removal followed protocol for organ transplant.

GOVERNOR IN HOSPITAL: A heart blood vessel that was largely blocked caused the chest pains that put Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar in the hospital over the weekend, doctors said Sunday. The injury to the tiny blood vessel - just 1/25th of an inch in diameter - was characterized as a "bruise" to the heart that left no major or long-term damage. Dr. James Dove, president of the Prairie Heart Institute at St. John's Hospital, said the problem would be treated with medicine, rather than surgery. Dove said difficulties such as the blockage are common among patients, like Edgar, with a history of heart problems.

FIRES GRIP FLORIDA: Dozens of buildings were destroyed by weekend fires in tinder-dry forest and brush in central Florida, and authorities worried Sunday that winds would fan the flames further. Residents returned Sunday to some ravaged neighborhoods even while one blaze resisted firefighters' efforts to contain it. The fires erupted Saturday, feeding on forests parched by weeks of drought. Hundreds of people fled to emergency shelters and about a 30-mile stretch of Interstate 95 was shut down for hours during the night, backing up traffic on the state's main north-south route. The forecast was for continued hot, dry weather, although a few thunderstorms did pop up Sunday.

In other news . . .

RAIN SOAKED much of the country Sunday while strong thunderstorms expected to produce gusty winds and small hail moved in over New Mexico and western Texas.. . . RICH WINE lovers opened their wallets for a chance to hobnob with California winemakers and sample their wares at a charity auction in St. Helena that raised $3.8 million.. . . INDONESIA'S FORMER President Suharto turns 77 on Monday, but there will be no celebration for the man who last month surrendered his 32-year iron grip on the world's fourth most populous nation. . . . TEACHERS ACROSS Israel went on strike Sunday, shutting down most schools and giving 1 million students a vacation on what would have been a regular school day.