KINSHASA - Zaire`s prime minister has formally ordered the armed forces to launch a counter-offensive against Tutsi-led rebels in the east and urged the nation to rally behind the push to recapture lost territory there. It was not immediately clear what impact Kengo wa Dondo`s comments on Monday night would have on the timing of the counter-thrust, which has been promised for over a month. But preparations have been gathering pace in the eastern town of Kisangani, where Zairean troops, weapons and as many as 300 foreign mercenaries have arrived over the past few weeks.
BEIJING - A moderate earthquake on Tuesday in China`s westernmost Xinjiang region has killed at least seven people and injured more than 10, officials said. The earthquake measured at least 6.6 on the open-ended Richter scale, and not 6.4 as earlier reported, said an official of the local seismological bureau in the town of Jiashi, near the epicentre of Tuesday`s tremor.
HONG KONG - Storm of protest greets China`s proposals to water down Hong Kong`s human rights laws when it takes back control of the British colony.
PRAGUE - German Chancellor Helmut Kohl signs long-awaited Czech-German post-World War Two declaration with Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus.
WASHINGTON - Democratic President Clinton launched his second term with a grand vision of America as "a land of New Promise" in a new millennium, and asked his bitter Republican rivals to help him lead it there.
WASHINGTON - U.S. Secretary of State-designate Madeleine Albright expressed deep concerns about Chinese arms sales and expected a new initiative for ex-Soviet states, according to documents recently made available by a Senate panel.
JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned President Yasser Arafat, buoyed by the PLO`s entry into Hebron, not to declare a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
MILAN - Italian information technology group Olivetti is selling its personal computers division to a new company Piedmont, in which Olivetti will have a 10 percent stake, chief executive officer Roberto Colaninno said.
FOLKESTONE, England - Eurotunnel, the debt-laden Channel Tunnel operator, pledged to recover from the public relations disaster which followed last November`s tunnel fire and said it expected to restore lost market share in 1997.
SEOUL - South Korean President Kim Young-sam met opposition leaders to try to reach compromise over a new labour law that triggered more than three weeks of wildcat strikes, a presidential spokesman said.
LONDON - Britain's first war crimes trial collapsed when a jury ruled that a former police commander in Nazi-occupied Byelorussia was not mentally fit to face a full trial. Szymon Serafinowicz, 86, was accused of being involved in a programme that wiped out the Jewish population of what is now Belarus.