KINSHASA - Around 20,000 people have been forced from their homes in the east of the former Zaire by floods after the Congo river burst its banks, aid workers said. The river flooded parts of the jungle city of Kisangani, some 1,500 km (930 miles) up the river from the capital Kinshasa last Sunday, and the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has declared the area a disaster zone.
JOHANNESBURG - Chinese Vice-Premier and Foreign Minister Qian Qichen arrived in South Africa at the start of a visit to establish formal diplomatic ties.
SEOUL - South Korea braced for long-feared domino corporate defaults as euphoria over International Monetary Fund (IMF)-led aid faded, leaving only the reality of stringent reform requirements.
COLOMBO - A bomb in a truck exploded in southern Sri Lanka, killing three people who were in the vehicle, police said.
JAKARTA - Indonesia's operation to recover debris and bodies from the crash of a Singaporean SilkAir jet into an Indonesian river could last until well into January.
HONG KONG - Hong Kong will carry out a mass slaughter of chickens as part of efforts to contain the mysterious "bird flu". The slaughter and burning of chickens from about 1,000 markets and stalls throughout the territory, will begin on Monday.
ISLAMABAD - A United Nations special envoy, ending an 18-month assignment to Afghanistan, said he saw new hope for peace talks to end the conflict there.
BIJELJINA, Bosnia - Serb hardliners tripped up Western efforts to install a moderate government that would support the Bosnian peace process when the new Bosnian Serb parliament met for the first time.
ROME - Italy called on Turkey to take action against gangs involved in ferrying illegal immigrants to Europe after nearly 1,000 men, women and children were rescued from a grounded ship off Italy's southern coast.
LUSAKA - International pressure mounted for Zambian President Frederick Chiluba to charge or release his political rival Kenneth Kaunda, locked in a maximum security jail after his Christmas Day arrest.
BILBAO, Spain - Tens of thousands of people marched through rain in the Spanish city of Bilbao to protest against the jailing of Basque separatist leaders.
LIMA - Peruvian authorities said a gang of soldiers beat to death two Japanese university students deep in the Amazon jungle as the tourists were on a rowing expedition to Brazil in a flimsy wooden boat.