West Bank

RAMALLAH - Hanan Ashrawi, a leading figure in Palestinian politics, quit the government, criticizing Yasser Arafat over corruption and the handling of peace talks.

Afghanistan

KABUL - Fierce fighting has left about 100 fighters from the ruling Taliban militia dead in northern Afghanistan, the opposition alliance said.

Czech Republic

PRAGUE - President Vaclav Havel's condition improved as his heart rate stabilized and X-rays confirmed his pneumonia slowly receding.

Germany

BERLIN - Rescuers have recovered six bodies from a Berlin apartment building demolished by Tuesday's natural-gas explosion.

Mexico

ACAPULCO - Admitting the state cannot fully protect businessmen from being kidnapped, Guerrero state's governor encouraged them to hire security guards.

South Korea

SEOUL - A Korean Air passenger plane skidded off a rain-slicked runway after landing at Seoul's international airport, injuring at least 18 people.

France

PARIS - Paul Flamand, the co-founder of one of the biggest French publishing houses, Editions du Seuil, died Tuesday at 89.

Russia

MOSCOW - Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov said the government would withhold cash from coal-mining industries in any region where unpaid miners were blockading rail lines.

Turkey

ANKARA - A lawyer for former Prime Minister Tansu Ciller and her businessman husband said a corruption investigation into the couple had no foundation.

Vietnam

HANOI - The government angrily denied a report in the Far Eastern Economic Review magazine that alleged a senior member of the elite Communist Party Politburo was being investigated for corruption.

Myanmar

YANGON - Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi demanded that the military government remove its guards from the grounds of her Yangon residence, but the authorities have refused, opposition officials said.

China

HONG KONG - Dissidents are prepared to stage protest marches to urge the immediate release of three detained political activists, a Hong Kong human rights group said.

Indonesia

SUKAMELANG - Armed forces commander Gen. Wiranto donned a farmer's hat on Thursday and harvested soybeans with a scythe in a plantation surrounded by the cool green rice fields of West Java.

Greece

ATHENS - A forest fire, earlier brought under control after destroying scores of homes near Athens, flared again, killing one elderly resident, police said.

Japan

TOKYO - The citizens of Japan's ancient capital, Kyoto, home to temples and medieval palaces, gave a resounding thumbs down to a plan to build a French bridge in the middle of town, the mayor said.

Nigeria

LAGOS - At least five people died and several were wounded in renewed clashes in a boundary dispute between two communities in southwest Nigeria, local newspapers said.