World

The latest appeal by Osama bin Laden for Muslims worldwide to join a "holy struggle" against the US was rejected by the chief of the 22-nation Arab League, who said the Saudi dissident speaks only for himself. In a new videotape, bin Laden also lashed out at the UN as "a crime tool" and called any Islamic leaders who side with it "infidels." Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, the Northern Alliance opened a new airstrip 50 miles north of Kabul that could provide important support for an assault on the capital. And, visiting neighboring Pakistan, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said the Taliban no longer are "really functioning as a government." (Stories, pages 3, 5.)

The next target of the US counterterrorism campaign after Afghanistan may well be Somalia, The Washington Post reported. The newspaper said it had learned that of the various other countries for which plans would need to be developed, preparations for Somalia appeared to be the most-developed. The impoverished African nation has been a center of activity by bin Laden's Al Qaeda organization since 1993.

Despite orders for a "staged" pullout of Israeli troops from West Bank towns, at least one Palestinian gunman fired on a city bus in Jerusalem, killing two people and wounding as many as 35 others. The shooter was killed by police, but others were reported running from the scene. Responsibility for the attack was claimed by the militant Hamas organization. The incident followed a meeting Saturday between Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in which they discussed Israel's withdrawal from West Bank areas.

A handful of previously neutral politicians in Northern Ireland planned to throw their support today to Protestant ex-First Minister David Trimble in a bid to return him to the office in the province's power-sharing coalition government. The members of the Alliance Party, which consists of moderates on both sides of the sectarian divide, chose to act after hard-line Protestants Friday blocked Trimble's reelection, threatening to cause a new suspension of the administration by Britain.

More than a half-million people and hundreds of thousands of animals were in temporary shelters as Cuba braced for hurricane Michelle, potentially the island's most powerful storm since 1932. The 135-m.p.h. storm was being rated "extremely dangerous" by weather experts and already was blamed for 12 deaths in Jamaica and Central America. Residents of the Florida Keys also were under an evacuation order. Above, a resident of Batamano, 35 miles south of Havana, prepares to take his refrigerator with him as he evacuates.

Gunfire erupted again in the morning hours in the Central African Republic capital of Bangui, where for a second day soldiers loyal to the ousted Army chief were resisting efforts by government troops to arrest him. Gen. Fran├žois Bozize was fired two weeks ago by President Ange-Felix Patasse for allegedly helping to plan a coup last May. Bangui's streets were deserted, although soldiers from Libya who helped to quell the coup attempt were guarding Patasse's home as a precaution.

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