THE HAGUE - A Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect captured by NATO forces said he was too sick to enter a plea at his arraignment because masked men clubbed him with a baseball bat during his arrest last weekend.


Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan informed President Clinton that China will sign the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in New York on Oct. 5.


BONN - Germany's outgoing Cabinet offered 14 fighter planes for possible NATO airstrikes in Kosovo, although a decision on whether they actually leave the ground will probably fall to the newly elected government.


NICE - Police on Wednesday recovered two Impressionist masterpieces stolen from a museum in Nice earlier this month. The priceless works, Claude Monet's "Cliffs at Dieppe" from 1897 and Alfred Sisley's "Lane lined with poplars near Moret" from 1890, were found in good condition on board a boat docked at the port of Saint Laurent du Var.


GABORONE - Botswana President Festus Mogae unveiled plans to give more financial and medical help to people suffering from AIDS/HIV. Mogae said AIDS patients would receive a monthly allowance of 90 pula ($20). Pregnant woman infected with the HIV virus will get the AIDS drug AZT and breast milk substitutes. Botswana expects 18 percent of its 1.5 million people to be infected with HIV by 2000.


MEXICO CITY - A gunman shot three young men to death in a northern Mexico town in what police said could be a revenge killing, local media reported. The three were shot point-blank Monday when they returned to their pickup truck after dropping off merchandise at a store in Escuinapa.


BELGRADE - An earthquake shook Belgrade and other parts of Yugoslavia early Wednesday, shutting off electricity and rattling buildings. There were no reports of deaths or serious injuries.


DUBLIN - An Irish Republican Army suspect faced charges Tuesday in a Dublin anti-terrorist court, 15 years after he fled to the United States. Thomas Moyna, 42, returned home Sunday hoping to take over his father's pub.


ANKARA - Turkey protested a U.S. diplomat's criticism of a jail sentence given Istanbul's Islamic mayor for reading a religious poem, saying Tuesday its ally should stay out of its domestic affairs. "We consider comments by a foreigner on a verdict by Turkey's highest judicial authority as an intervention into our internal affairs," the Foreign Ministry said.


GROZNY - A Russian government representative in Chechnya was kidnapped in broad daylight just after listening to a speech by the breakaway region's president on the problem of abductions, officials said.


ALGIERS - Four Algerian soldiers and 18 Muslim rebels were killed in a weekend battle that lasted about 12 hours in the southwest of the country.


BANGKOK - The new commander-in-chief of Thailand's army, Gen. Surayudh Julanond, said he would quit as a senator and ordered his troops to distance themselves from politics.