World

Secretary of State Powell arrived in Pakistan amid a nationwide general strike and results from a new opinion poll showing 83 percent public support for the Taliban regime in neighboring Afghanistan. Powell is to brief President Pervez Musharraf today on the US counterterrorism campaign and to try to ease tensions with neighboring India in their dispute over Kashmir. Above, smoke from an anti-US protest fills a Karachi street. (Related story, page 10.)

The anti-Taliban Northern Alliance was claiming to have advanced to within five miles of the strategic city of Mazar-e-Sharif as a heavy new wave of US bombing attacks rocked Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, and other sites. If Mazar-e-Sharif, the largest city in northern Afghanistan, falls, it would be the alliance's first major gain since the bombing began. But the Taliban denied that 4,000 of its fighters had defected to the alliance. (Related stories, pages 1, 7; opinion, page 9.)

Alarms over anthrax extended outside the US to as far away as Australia, where 16 buildings were investigated after receiving suspicious mail. All proved to be hoaxes. Similar investigations were under way in Israel, Belgium, Denmark, France, the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis, German Chancelor Gerhard Schröder's office, and the German aid group whose workers are on trial in Afghanistan for preaching Christianity. Meanwhile, Britain's Canterbury Cathedral reopened after an anthrax scare, as did Vienna's airport.

Another leading Palestinian militant was killed in the West Bank in a car-bomb attack, the second member of the Hamas organization to die violently in two days. Palestinian leaders quickly blamed Israel, even as Prime Minister Sharon ordered tanks out of a self-rule zone in Hebron and eased restrictions at roadblocks. But those moves angered the hardline National Unity and Israel Beitenu parties, which quit Sharon's coalition government. Meanwhile, in London, Yasser Arafat won British backing for creation of a "viable" Palestinian state. (Related story, page 6.)

Although election returns were incomplete, the opposition Peronist Party appeared headed to control of both houses of Argen-tina's Congress after Sunday's voting. The outcome puts beleaguered President Fernando de la Rua in the position of trying to push his widely unpopular austerity plan with only minority support among lawmakers. Yet he quickly renewed his commitment to the plan, aimed at keeping Argentina from defaulting on $132 billion in debt.

Another attempt at resolving the long-running political crisis in Haiti collapsed as President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's Lavalas Family Party and the 15-party opposition alliance couldn't agree on new elections. Their talks, which broke down Sunday, were sponsored by the Organization of American States. The opposition claims Lavalas won power by fraud and demands a new vote. About $500 million in international aid remains on hold until the dispute is resolved.

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