DUBLIN - A judge ordered police Friday to free a suspected IRA dissident after ruling that new anti-terror powers enacted in the wake of Northern Ireland's deadliest atrocity were unconstitutional.


MASERU - Lesotho remained in chaos Friday after an opposition leader denied a South African claim that an agreement had been reached on holding new elections.


MEXICO CITY - Federal investigators have uncovered 289 secret bank accounts and scores of properties belonging to the brother of former President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, a law enforcement official said Friday.

MEXICO CITY - Rabid bats have prompted a health alert in northern Mexico's scenic Copper Canyon, where three people have died from bat bites and eight others recently were attacked.


SYDNEY - Australia's 12 million voters started voting Saturday in what is set to be one of the country's closest general elections.

United Nations

Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz, contrary to some expectations, did not rescind Baghdad's ban on arms inspections when he met U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan Friday, U.N. officials said.


CARACAS - A DC-3 plane carrying 22 tourists plunged into swampland in southern Venezuela Friday, killing the co-pilot and injuring three people, authorities said.


LIMA - Peru's foreign minister resigned Friday as Lima was negotiating final details of a definitive peace accord with Ecuador over the Andean neighbors' disputed border.


TBILISI - Eleven prisoners escaped from a prison farm in Georgia by digging a tunnel while they were making flower beds, officials said Friday.


MOSCOW - Russia has developed a jet-powered flamethrower with the power of a cannon that has greater range and is more accurate than earlier models, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported Friday.


PARIS - A gunman burst into a church in Paris during a wedding Friday and fired shots at the congregation, wounding three people in the shooting and ensuing melee.


OSLO - The Norwegian awards committee knows who will win the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize, but in keeping with a strong tradition of secrecy the panel will say nothing until Oct. 16, an official said Friday.


NAPLES - A fiery explosion blew apart a car in a crowded quarter of Naples on Friday, injuring 13 people, police said. Authorities suspected a car bomb planted by one of the city's warring crime clans.


TAIPEI - Taiwan on Friday canceled a large military display of jet fighters and missile cruisers that could have disturbed Beijing just before a top envoy's visit to China.


DAMASCUS - Syria responded to reports of Turkish troops massing along the Syrian border by accusing Turkey of plotting with Israel to undermine Syria.


LONDON - Elfriede Frank, who married the father of Anne Frank and helped him publicize his daughter's best-selling wartime diary, has died in London, the Anne Frank Educational Trust reported Friday. She was 93.