World

Osama bin Laden, the Saudi dissident suspected of plotting Tuesday's terrorist attacks in the US remains an honored "guest" in Afghanistan, the ruling Taliban said. But requests by the US to hand him over could be considered after "we study the evidence," a senior official said. Despite reports that bin Laden had congratulated those who carried them out, the Taliban repeated claims that he was incapable of being involved. Meanwhile, for their safety, the UN ordered its employees out of Afghanistan. International aid groups also were pulling their staffs out of the country. (Stories, pages 1, 2, 8; related editorials, page 10; related opinions, page 11.)

Around the world, other nations were taking exceptional security precautions in reaction to Tuesday's attacks in the US - banning commercial flights, mobilizing troops and police to patrol streets, government buildings, schools, and many other vital facilities, and to set up checkpoints. European Union diplomats were home from as far away as Singapore. Above, Tokyo residents watch President Bush on a giant TV screen.

Even as it dealt with the impact of attacks in the US, Israel intensified its hunt for Palestinian terrorism suspects, raiding the West Bank town of Jenin and two nearby villages. At least seven people were reported dead in fighting with defenders; six others were hurt. On another front, Israel sealed its borders with Jordan and Egypt until further notice and sent home the families of its diplomatic staff in Cairo. (Story, page 7.)

With Israel's borders and air space closed to all but El Al, the national carrier, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was forced to delay his planned trip to Syria. Meanwhile, an aide played down the scenes of Palestinian celebration at the attacks on the US, calling the demonstrators an "exception."

New fighting erupted between Muslims and Christians in Nigeria, and the state-run newspaper Daily Times put the number of deaths to date at 500. Red Cross officials on the scene said another 928 people were hurt, but announced they would release no further details in the hope of keeping the violence from spreading further.

Supporters of the coup that toppled Fiji's government last year were among the Cabinet secretaries announced by newly elected Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase. But its ranks included no ethnic Indians, whose political party, Qarase said, "would not contribute to a stable and workable government." Indians make up 44 percent of Fiji's population, and their leader, deposed government chief Mahendra Chaudhry, tried to impose "unacceptable conditions" to join the Cabinet, Qarase said.

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