LHOKSEUMAWE - Too terrified to return home, about 100 ethnic Chinese were holed up in military offices in this riot-torn northern Indonesian town. Army reinforcements patrolled coastal Lhokseumawe, a center of Indonesia's natural gas and petroleum industry where mobs burned buildings and looted Chinese-owned stores this week.


JERUSALEM - An Israeli court released to house arrest an 80-year-old Israeli scientist jailed for nearly 16 years for spying for the former Soviet Union. The Beersheba district court said the ailing Marcus Klingberg, former deputy head of the Nes Ziona Biological Institute near Tel Aviv, would serve the remainder of his 20-year sentence at home.


BEIJING - Premier Zhu Rong-ji wants to give priority to helping flood victims in the far northeast survive the long, bitter winter ahead, state media reported. The worst flooding in decades in the northeast and central China's Yangtze River basin has killed more than 3,000 people nationwide and left millions homeless.


TOKYO - A powerful earthquake measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale shook a little-inhabited ski resort area in northern Japan on Thursday, slightly injuring at least nine people, the Meteorological Agency said.


NIZHNEVARTOVSK - The mayor of this major oil and gas center in Siberia was hospitalized in serious condition after an assassination attempt, regional officials said. Oil officials said Mayor Yuri Ti-mosh-kov was probably the victim of a struggle for power and influence over regional oil firms.


BONN - Chancellor Helmut Kohl opened the "biggest debate" of his re-election campaign against Gerhard Schroed-er by stressing his role as the West's elder statesman. Kohl used the only face-off of the campaign with his Social Democrat challenger to tell Germans that after 16 years in office he alone could be trusted to handle foreign policy and crises such as Russia and Kosovo.


SARAJEVO - Renegade Croat leader Kresimir Zubak said the international community should use its authority to do more to protect smaller parties in the country's second post-war election campaign.


TAIPEI - This island nation's top political envoy accepted an offer from arch-rival China to travel to the communist mainland in mid-October and resume cross-strait talks suspended since 1995.


MANILA - Police ordered a heightened alert around the U.S. Embassy on the eve of a planned protest march by Islamic militants and after an anonymous threat that the embassy would be bombed.


OAXACA - A van lost a tire and crashed into a ravine on a highway in the southwestern state of Oaxaca, killing six passengers and injuring 12.


HAVANA - Residents will celebrate this weekend the 70th anniversary of its unofficial national anthem, "La Guantanamera," a popular ballad that became a solidarity hymn worldwide for supporters of Fidel Castro's revolution.


BAGHDAD - The nation's trade minister said that Iraq was holding talks with Saudi firms to buy food and medicine under its oil-for-food deal with the United Nations.