China

BEIJING - The government said its economic growth target of 8 percent for the year was still within reach despite a slower first-half performance, but economists cast doubt on such hopes.

BEIJING - Critics are assailing lavish plans to stage the Puccini opera "Turandot" in Beijing's Forbidden City, saying the ancient imperial palace is too historic to be used for shows.

Argentina

BUENOS AIRES - Argentina's ruling Peronist Party voted at a special congress to try all legal means to enable President Carlos Menem to stand for a third consecutive term in 1999.

Cambodia

PHNOM PENH - Two representatives from military-ruled Myanmar will take part in a U.N.-organized team observing Cambodia's July 26 general elections.

Mexico

MEXICO CITY - The government one-upped Zapatista rebels in a war of communiques, calling on guerrillas to return to peace talks just hours after a rebel commander wrote off the peace process as useless.

MEXICO CITY - A tropical storm churning off Mexico's Pacific coast threatened to bring flash floods and mud slides to the country's mountainous west, U.S. and Mexican meteorologists said.

South Korea

SEOUL - A fishing boat captain who found a North Korean submarine off the country's east coast last month is in line for a reward of more than $120,000, government officials said. It would be South Korea's biggest ever reward for information on suspected spies or infiltrating vessels.

Germany

BONN - Chancellor Helmut Kohl's government said it aimed to release a report on child welfare before the September general election following allegations the document was being held up for party political reasons.

Jamaica

KINGSTON - Cuban President Fidel Castro will make an official three-day visit here later this month, a government source said.

Finland

HELSINKI - A mission to salvage a champagne-laden ship that sank in the Baltic Sea in 1916 has resumed after a three-day delay caused by heavy winds, the head of the expedition said.

Greece

ATHENS - A furious member of parliament whose house was robbed entered the legislature toting a pistol and threatening to beat up the country's public order minister for failing to do his job.

Honduras

TEGUCIGALPA - A half-million Hondurans have set out to eliminate the breeding grounds of a dengue-carrying mosquito, health officials said. It was dubbed "D-day" by local authorities.

Pakistan

ISLAMABAD - Six people were killed by overnight Indian firing and shelling across a control line into the Pakistan-ruled part of the disputed Kashmir region, the official APP news agency said.

Brazil

BRASILIA - Brazil needs to rethink its anti-drugs policy to fight an "emerging mafia" of drug-runners linked to Colombia's cocaine and heroin cartels, the head of Brazil's new anti-drugs office said.

France

PARIS - A former French prime minister and two former ministers were sent to trial, charged with manslaughter in connection with a 1980s distribution of AIDS-tainted blood which killed hundreds of hemophiliacs.