World

Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda forces were given until 8 a.m. today, local time, to surrender their last stronghold in the Tora Bora region of Afghanistan or be killed, news agencies said. But no new sightings of bin Laden himself were reported. Meanwhile, a senior Pakistani military official said 8,000 of his troops were deployed along the frontier to keep bin Laden and his followers from crossing in search of sanctuary. (Related story, page 1.)

In related developments:

• The US will consult with its coalition partners before deciding whether or where to extend its counterterrorism campaign beyond Afghanistan, Secretary of State Powell pledged.

• Britain is willing "in principle" to lead the multinational peacekeeping force in Afghanistan, Prime Minister Tony Blair said. France also indicated willingness to take part in such a force, and German newspapers said up to 1,000 of their country's troops were likely to participate. But in Moscow, Russia's foreign minister said none of his nation's forces would be sent to Afghanistan.

• A US government mission was reported in Somalia, apparently to scout out possible strikes against terrorist targets. But a senior official of the country's fledgling government said attacks would not be justified because, "for sure, there are no terrorist camps in Somalia."

Once again, ex-Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic ridiculed the UN war-crimes tribunal for the Balkans, refusing to enter a plea to its final and most serious indictment against him: 29 counts of genocide and crimes against humanity in the 1992-95 Bosnian civil war. As with his previous indictments, the tribunal declared a "not guilty" plea in his behalf and indicated his trials could begin as early as next summer. Milosevic also is charged with lesser offenses in the Croatian and Kosovo conflicts.

An angry President Hugo Chávez reacted to Monday's nationwide strike in Venezuela by vowing swift action to implement his 49 decrees affecting the economy that caused the walkout. He withdrew an offer to discuss amending the decrees, telling a rally of supporters, "Now we have even more reason to accelerate compliance." And, blaming the news media for promoting the day-long action, he said his government will consider tough new restrictions on reporting. The cosponsors, organized labor and the nation's largest business federation, proclaimed the strike a success.

The long-awaited presidential election in Zimbabwe will be held in March, incumbent Robert Mugabe said. But the embattled leader did not specify a date. The election figures to be his stiffest test since Zimbabwe achieved independence from Britain in 1980. He is expected to be opposed by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change.

The incumbent prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago and the opposition leader both were claiming the right to form a new government after unofficial results from Monday's election showed in an even split in Parliament.

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