World

Two more Palestinian suicide bombers struck less than three hours apart Sunday, killing at least 12 people and wounding almost 50 others – the third and fourth such attacks since the Jewish Passover season began last week. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was addressing the nation as the Monitor went to press, with his forces continuing the siege of Yasser Arafat's headquarters in Ramallah in the West Bank. The city was declared a closed military area, and journalists were ordered to leave. Above, Palestinians in Ramallah surrender to Israeli troops. (Stories, pages 1, 2, 10; opinions, page 9.)

In a related development, neighboring Jordan warned it might take measures "related to bilateral relations" if the siege of Arafat's headquarters "and the Palestinian people ... do not immediately stop." Analysts said that could include cutting diplomatic ties with the Jewish state.

Exiled former King Mohamad Zahir "definitely" will return home to Afghanistan April 16, interim government officials there said. His departure from Rome has twice been delayed, most recently because of security concerns. He is to play a key role in rebuilding the shattered nation, calling into session a 1,500-delegate grand council, or loya jirga, that will install a new administration. There will be no ban on participation in the council by former members of the Taliban regime, reports said. (Related story, page 6.)

A "preliminary" cease-fire was signed by the armed forces and UNITA rebels in Angola Saturday, the latest step in efforts to end the on-again, off-again civil war that has cost the country an estimated half-million lives since 1975. A senior security officials called the document "a mere declaration of intent to stop the war" and said a formal armistice ceremony would be held Thursday.

Rejecting calls from people it claims to be fighting for, the Basque nationalist group ETA said it would not declare a new cease-fire against the government of Spain and "plans to use" its weapons against "enemies" of independence. Since ending its 14-month truce in 1998, ETA has claimed or been blamed for 39 deaths, on top of more than 700 killed earlier in bombings and shootings.

The funeral of Queen Eliabeth, Britain's Queen Mother, was scheduled for April 9 in Westminster Abbey after a period of national mourning. Tributes from world leaders were pouring in to London, and Britons lined up to sign books of condolence. (Editorial, page 8.)

A husband has the right to beat his wife for disciplinary reasons, provided he doesn't "damage her bones or deform her body," Dubai's highest court ruled. But it upheld a wife's right to file for divorce if she is injured "by word or action." Dubai is considered the most liberal of the seven members of the United Arab Emirates.

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