New Zealand

WELLINGTON - A twin-engine sightseeing plane carrying 10 people crashed off New Zealand's South Island, killing four people and leaving a 7-year-old boy missing, police said.

West Bank

HEBRON - Israeli authorities demolished 12 Palestinian homes that provided accommodation for about 100 people near the West Bank town of Hebron, witnesses said.


ASUNCION - President Raul Cubas kept his promise to free former army chief Lino Oviedo, a political ally who was jailed for an alleged coup attempt, provoking threats of impeachment from the opposition and his own party.


MEXICO CITY - A kidnapper who mutilated his captives by slicing off their ears to extract ransom payments told a television interviewer shortly after his arrest that he felt no remorse for the victims.


BANGKOK - Dozens of Thai prostitutes working in Bangkok's infamous Patpong red light district are retraining as masseuses because visits to the area are dwindling due to the Asian economic crisis.

BANGKOK - A prostitute stole more than $4,000 in jewelry from her customer at a Bangkok brothel, then fled the establishment wearing only a towel, a Thai newspaper reported.


MARJAYOUN - Israeli warplanes hit suspected Hezbollah targets in south Lebanon after the group detonated a roadside bomb, killing an Israeli soldier and wounding three, security and militia sources said.


KAMPALA - A Canadian tourist abducted by unidentified gunmen in the Democratic Republic of the Congo last week was released, Uganda's state-owned New Vision newspaper reported.


ULAN BATOR - Mongolia's political crisis took a new twist when the president nominated his own candidate for prime minister after rejecting the ruling coalition's choice for the fourth time.


KARACHI - Supporters of Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto began a "hunger protest" outside a Swiss consulate after a judge in Geneva pressed money-laundering charges against the former prime minister.

Sri Lanka

COLOMBO - A Sri Lankan gay group, complaining of victimization and harassment, said it had appealed to the government to make homosexuality legal.


SCARBOROUGH - A black, boat-shaped hat owned by Italy's World War II fascist leader Benito Mussolini has been sold for $3,600 at an auction in this northern English town.


HONG KONG - Two men attacked Hong Kong's top radio talk show host before his morning show, leaving him with serious chop wounds in his arms, legs and back, police said.


ATHENS - Elli Souyioutzoglou-Seidari, a photographer whose work chronicled Greece between the world wars and brought new life to its ancient ruins, has died at the age of 99.


BOMBAY - Persis Khambatta, a former Miss India who played a navigator in the film "Star Trek - The Motion Picture" died in Bombay following a massive heart attack, newspapers reported.