World

Newly elected President Hamid Karzai proposed to Afghan-istan's loya jirgathat he choose his own cabinet to end an impasse that was keeping the traditonal council in session beyond its deadline. Karzai's move came amid reports, denied by the Foreign Ministry, that hundreds of delegates had walked out in frustration because "we are just repeating the same discussions." Karzai called on the loya jirga instead to determine who should serve in parliament. (Story, page 1.)

An angry Yasser Arafat blasted comments by US National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice critical of his Palestinian Authority. She told the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News that the authority is "corrupt," cavorts with terrorists, and should not govern a future Palestinian state. Arafat also vowed to "continue rejecting by all means" the building of a Israeli security fence along the West Bank. A Palestinian bomber succeeded in killing only himself Monday in a protest against the project. (Editorial, page 10.)

Five years with a strong majority in parliament give President Jacques Chirac a mandate for reform that is unprecedented in France since World War II, political analysts said after Sunday's elections confirmed a landslide for center-right parties. Chirac's allies already have said they'll seek a 5 percent income-tax cut, plus new laws on security and the justice system.

A state of emergency and a curfew were imposed on the No. 2 city in Peru as violent protests against privatization of two electric utilities entered a fifth day. The protesters say they fear higher bills and layoffs at the two utilities, which were sold to a Belgian company. The disturbances in Arequipa (such as the one above, Saturday) have killed one person, hurt 66 others, and caused an estimated $100 million in damage.

Young people hooked on the Internet were expected to defy a government order closing cybercafes throughout Beijing after the city's worst fire in 50 years. The blaze in an unlicensed cafe early Sunday killed 24 people, all of them college or high school students. Tight controls on the Internet, which officials have called a drug, have driven many such cafes underground.

With today's deadline looming, only 30 percent of voting-age Cubans have yet to sign a petition declaring the island's communist political and economic system forever "untouchable." Opposition activists call it Castro's response to their Varela Project, the civil liberties campaign most Cubans first heard about last month in a speech by visiting ex-US President Carter.

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