China is queried on fate of monks

GENEVA, Switzerland - A U.N. human-rights panel asked China on Wednesday to disclose the fate of 300 Tibetan monks whose whereabouts it said were unknown since they were allegedly arrested in April.

The U.N. Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances said the monks were allegedly detained by Chinese security forces April 21 at the Ngaba Kirti monastery in Sichuan province, though some have reportedly since been freed.

"We call on the authorities to provide full information on the fate and the whereabouts of the persons who have disappeared," the panel said.

Chinese officials rejected the allegation, saying no monks were being held incommunicado.

The monastery has been the site of tensions between authorities and those advocating independence for Tibet. In March, a 21-year-old monk set himself on fire there to protest Chinese rule. - AP

Postwar Dutch killing is solved

AMSTERDAM - A 96-year-old Dutch woman has confessed to killing a prominent citizen in 1946 after mistakenly believing he had collaborated with the Nazis, a town mayor said Wednesday.

The killing of Felix Gulje, a construction company head who was being considered for a high political post, roiled Netherlands' politics.

The mayor of Leiden, Henri Lenferink, said Atie Ridder-Visser had confessed to the killing in a letter to him Jan. 1. Two interviews with her and a review of historical archives convinced him her story was true. Ridder-Visser will not be prosecuted, he said, calling her frail.

She was in the resistance during the 1940-45 Nazi occupation when rumors circulated that Gulje was working with the occupation. After his death it emerged that he had sheltered Jews, given money to help hide others with other families, and let a banned Catholic association hold secret meetings in his home, Lenferink said. - AP

Rare turtle gets Cambodia haven

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia - An extremely rare soft-shell turtle species has a new, protected home in Cambodia.

The critically endangered Cantor's giant soft-shell turtle is one of the rarest freshwater turtles in the world. Scientists last saw one in the Cambodian wild in 2003, and small numbers have been seen in neighboring Laos.

U.S.-based Conservation International said it opened the Mekong Turtle Conservation Center on Wednesday in Kratie province, 100 miles northeast of Phnom Penh.

A 40-pound female turtle was released into the conservation pond at a Buddhist pagoda at the center's launch. The species can grow up to 6 feet in length and weigh more than 110 pounds. - AP

Elsewhere:

Mexican federal prosecutors said a man wanted on fraud charges has been arrested though he had plastic surgery and assumed a female identity to try to avoid capture.

French authorities cut back on the number of water-use restrictions after rains this week brought drought relief in parts of the country, the European Union's largest agricultural producer.