World

More visits aimed at persuading Afghanistan's Taliban regime to hand over Osama bin Laden were planned by Pakistani negotiators after their second failure in as many tries. But Ambassador to Pakistan Abdul Salam Zaeef said the Taliban had hidden bin Laden at a secret location "for his safety." Zaeef said a request by Islamic elders that bin Laden leave Afghanistan voluntarily "has reached him," but "there has been no response." (Related stories, pages 1, 6, 8, 9; opinion, page 11.)

Evidence that bin Laden is linked to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks against the US is "incontrovertible," British Prime Minister Tony Blair told the BBC. He spoke as reports increased of British, US, and even Australian commandos already active in covert operations inside Afghanistan.

With violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip again increasing, over the weekend, Israeli leaders gave Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat 48 more hours to fulfill terms of the cease-fire reaffirmed last week in his meeting with Foreign Minister Shimon Peres. Otherwise, they said, the deal will be reassessed. Israel said the truce includes the arrest of 100 people identified as militants, but Palestinians denied they'd agreed to such a condition. At least 16 more people have died in clashes since Arafat and Peres met last Wednesday.

The largest movement of leftist rebels in Colombia was blamed for the murder of kidnapped former culture minister Consuela Araujo, throwing into doubt the future of peace negotiations with the government. The Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) also refused to allow a leading presidential candidate, Horacio Serpa, into their territory for a campaign rally. Although Serpa is his rival, President Andres Pastrana reacted angrily to the move, saying it has "serious implications for the peace process." Araujo was the wife of Colombia's inspector-general. Above, a FARC guerrilla (r.) orders Serpa to go no farther.

Unless the government grants amnesty to Macedonia's ethnic Albanian insurgents, its hopes of retaking territory they control is likely to backfire, one of their leaders warned. "We can always find weapons again," Rafis Aliti said, despite the surrender of most arms last month to NATO forces. Parliament has yet to take action on reforms agreed to by government and Albanian negotiators in August, amid a long debate on whether to put it to a nationwide referendum.

Whether he wants to or not, ousted President Joseph Estrada will attend today's opening of his historic trial on corruption charges, police in the Philippines said. Security is to be tight in Manila for the proceedings, for which Estrada's lawyers said they also might not be present because of other appointments. Estrada was toppled Jan. 20 by protests and replaced by Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

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