World

With Yasser Arafat and key aides rejecting criticism by President Bush of Palestinian violence, members of his own Fatah organization claimed responsibility for new attacks in the West Bank that killed two Jewish settlers. An Israeli Army base in the Gaza Strip also was struck, resulting in the deaths of three soldiers. Israeli forces retaliated quickly, demolishing Palestinian security buildings. An Arafat deputy said "we now have a full and absolute American bias" after Bush blamed Palestinians for failing to break the deadlock in the Middle East conflict. (Story, page 1.)

A new policy easing direct personal investment limits in China was approved by Taiwan's high-profile Mainland Affairs Council and appeared certain to be implemented by President Chen Shui-bian. It relaxes the "go slow" mandate that has been in place since the late 1980s and will eliminate the $50 million ceiling currently in effect that has kept total Taiwanese investment in China's booming economy to about $60 billion. A Mainland Affairs Council official said she hoped China would view the move as a goodwill gesture even if "at the moment [it] is not ready to talk to us."

Police seized $35 million in cash from two upscale apartments in the largest confiscation of narcotics profits yet reported in Colombia. The cash was found hidden in the walls of units about a mile apart in Bogotá that were used by two fugitive brothers believed to be part of a money-laundering ring. The confiscated money (above, on display in wrapped blocks of $100,000 each), was found with the help of the US Drug Enforcement Administration and will be invested in Colombia's antinarcotics fight, officials said.

Ending months of speculation, the former leader of East Timor's independence movement announced he will seek the presidency of the fledgling country in next year's election. But José (Xanana) Gusmao said his candidacy would be conditional on a peaceful outcome of Thursday's UN-supervised voting for a constitutional assembly that will serve as the ex-Indonesian province's first parliament.

Access to the Internet was banned in Afghanistan for all but the office of the ruling Taliban's top leader, with violators to be punished under Islamic law. The decree extends an earlier order covering mainly ordinary citizens to all other governmental departments, inter- national relief agencies, and UN workers, although few of Afghanistan's telephone lines extend to the outside world. Meanwhile, with Taliban permission, Red Cross workers were permitted a visit with eight jailed foreign aid workers who are accused of promoting Christianity. A Red Cross spokesman said a second visit would follow, but "I will not disclose to you" the condition of the detainees.

Three new cases of foot-and-mouth disease were confirmed in northeastern England, dismaying farmers, government officials, and others who were hoping the epidemic of last spring had been eradicated. The outbreaks, the first in three months, were reported in Northumberland, where the disease began its spread in February. The movement of livestock there was ordered stopped, and a cull of 270 cows and sheep was under way, reports said.

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