China

BEIJING - Twenty-three Chinese dissidents sent an open letter to President Clinton and Chinese leader Jiang Zemin, urging them to make human rights an important topic at the upcoming U.S.-China summit.

HONG KONG - Torrential rains battered Hong Kong, triggering floods that swept away one man and forcing the closure of schools and some businesses.

Iraq

BAGHDAD - President Saddam Hussein has told India and Pakistan they were both entitled to launch last month's nuclear tests which sparked global condemnation.

Indonesia

JAKARTA - Officials asked other nations to drop their warnings to citizens against traveling to Indonesia, saying visitors can safely come to the island nation despite recent unrest.

Denmark

COPENHAGEN - Biotechnology firm Neurosearch said it would begin clinical trials in Britain for its new compound, dubbed NS2359, for the treatment of cocaine addiction.

Netherlands

THE HAGUE - Prince Claus, 71-year-old husband of Queen Beatrix, underwent a successful emergency operation to remove his prostate gland at a Hamburg hospital, the palace press office said.

India

SRINAGAR - At least four separatist guerrillas were killed in a gun battle with Indian soldiers in troubled Kashmir, an Indian army spokesman said.

AHMEDABAD - At least 14 people were killed when a severe cyclone hit coastal areas in the western Indian state of Gujarat, officials said.

Russia

MOSCOW - The government announced a purge of tax chiefs and detained a prominent state official to step up efforts to root out corruption, boost dismal tax collection and end a lingering financial crisis.

Turkey

ANKARA - A parliamentary powerbroker said he and Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz would sign a deal this week to dissolve the government at the end of the year, ahead of early elections in 1999.

United Arab Emirates

DUBAI - Three Omani men who confessed to robbery have been sentenced to have their right hands amputated by a court in the United Arab Emirates, an official at the public prosecutor's office said.

Guatemala

GUATEMALA CITY - Authorities said they had arrested a second suspect in the April murder of Bishop Juan Jose Gerardi, who had a key role assessing blame for atrocities in the country's civil war.

Mexico

CANCUN - The nation's top tourist destination is about to feature a new attraction - a floating casino that will skirt Mexico's anti-gambling laws by sailing offshore, a project promoter said.

Germany

BERLIN - Rescue workers ended their search for remains at the site of last week's high-speed train disaster, and the German railway reopened the Hamburg-Hanover line to rail traffic.

Canada

MONTREAL - One worker was killed in an explosion and fire at Irving Oil's refinery in the Atlantic Canadian province of New Brunswick, fire department officials said.

France

MARSEILLE - A bomb exploded in an office of the far-right National Front in southern France, wounding two activists hours before the trial of three far-rightists for manslaughter.