Japan

TOKYO - A U.S. F-16 jet fighter trying to take off from an airport in northern Japan shot off the end of the runway, bursting into flames and injuring an American pilot.

Cambodia

PHNOM PENH - The campaign for the country's second election in the post-Khmer Rouge era drew to a close with an opposition leader challenging strongman Hun Sen by trucking supporters to his stronghold.

Rwanda

GICIYE - In a blow to the anti-government insurgency, the army said it has killed two top rebel commanders believed responsible for organizing attacks in which thousands of civilians died.

Germany

MUNICH - German baritone Hermann Prey, a butcher's son who became an internationally acclaimed opera star and concert artist, has died at his home near Munich at age 69.

Thailand

BANGKOK - The nation's Buddhist clergy has ordered a monk outside the capital to paint over biblical murals on his temple walls that they have deemed lewd and sexually provocative.

Romania

BUCHAREST - President Emil Constantinescu's office issued a statement saying he will not visit Australia after newspapers and television stations produced spoofs of his weeklong tour of the United States, suggesting he was spending too much time out of the country.

England

CANTERBURY - Anglican Church leaders called for a sweeping write-off of international debt to give developing nations a chance to build for the future.

Taiwan

TAIPEI - A senior Chinese negotiator arrived here to lay the final groundwork for the highest-level Taipei-Beijing talks since a breakthrough meeting in 1993.

India

MADRAS - A senior Indian nuclear expert said material seized by police in the southern Tamil Nadu state was ilmenite and not uranium.

Italy

ROME - A senior figure in the Libyan leadership praised Italy's government for ending years of distrust between the two nations and said an accord signed last month by Rome and Tripoli would create big economic benefits.

Bangladesh

DHAKA - The nation's army was put on full alert as devastating floods hit two-thirds of the country, officials said.

Indonesia

JAKARTA - Amid new diplomatic efforts to end years of fighting in East Timor, Indonesia said it will withdraw some troops from the territory next week.

China

WUHAN - Floodwaters receded in a major industrial hub, but towns in southern China remained submerged in murky brown river water, driving people to their rooftops.

Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE - Police have arrested the former father-in-law of ousted dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier on allegations of corruption and stealing public money, Radio Haiti-Inter reported.

Cyprus

NICOSIA - U.S. envoy Thomas Miller started contacts on the divided island of Cyprus designed to put derailed peace talks back on track.

Ecuador

QUITO - President-elect Jamil Mahuad said Foreign Minister Jose Ayala will stay on in his new government due to his role in negotiating an end to a border conflict with Peru.