World

Despite almost $4 billion in pledges, concern grew at a conference to raise money for rebuilding war-torn Afghanistan that it would fall well short of its goal. Before the two-day session opened in Tokyo, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he hoped it would raise at least $10 billion. Speaking for the interim government in Kabul, Prime Minister Hamid Karzai said the aid was needed to reconstruct a country racked by "disaster, war, brutality, and deprivation" and asked donors to "imagine a scene much worse" than he would describe. (Story, page 1; editorial, page 10.)

Under heavy criticism at home for Britain's support of the US counterterrorism effort, Prime Minister Tony Blair was awaiting a report by a delegation that visited the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention center for Al Qaeda suspects. The criticism stemmed from photographs of the prisoners in shackles, which Red Cross officials said may violate the Geneva Convention. The Bush administration has said the Geneva strictures do not apply to suspected terrorists and it denies they are being mistreated.

Trapped in his West Bank headquarters by Israeli forces, Yasser Arafat vowed to establish a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital even if that were to cost him his life. The Palestinian leadership also called for an urgent UN Security Council meeting after Israeli troops reoccupied the town of Tulkarem, which had been autonomous since 1994, searching house-to-house for suspected militants. Two Palestinians were reported killed in the action and 15 others were hurt. Israeli spokesmen said the West Bank town was the launching pad for Palestinian attacks inside Israel, among them one late last week at a bat mitzvah that killed six people and wounded 30 others.

A timetable for negotiations aimed at achieving a cease-fire was agreed to by government negotiators and Colombia's largest guerrilla movement, the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC). The agreement was announced late Sunday, about two hours before a deadline set by President Andres Pastrana. Afterward, he announced in a speech to the nation that he had extended permission for FARC to maintain its Switzerland-size haven in the southern jungle until April 10 - three days after a hoped-for end to hostilities. The two sides also agreed to an international commission to mediate disagreements and to monitor their compliance with promises made in negotiations.

Matching a move by the island's Tamil Tiger rebels, the government of Sri Lanka extended its cease-fire by another month. Both actions raised hopes that a return to peace negotiations - suspended since February 1995 - might be imminent. The truces originally were declared as goodwill gestures just before Christmas and were due to expire Thursday. The Tamil separatists also released to relatives 10 of the estimated 1,000 prisoners they hold.

As many as 100 people died in eastern Congo as hot lava from a nearby volcano set off an explosion in a gas station they were trying to loot. Hundreds of others were being treated at hospitals. The city of Goma was abandoned after Mount Nyirangongo in neighboring Rwanda erupted last week, but reports said tens of thousands of people were returning, complaining of poor treatment by authorities on the Rwandan side of the border. (Story, page 1.)

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