The first talks between Israeli officials and the Palestinian Authority's new Interior Minister were sufficiently promising that there will be further meetings, both sides said. Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres's talks with Gen. Abdel Razaq al-Yahiya came a day after he met for 90 minutes with newly appointed Finance Minister Salam Fayad But a member of Yasser Arafat's own Fatah movement called the overhaul of the Palestinian cabinet "nonsense" because "he kept all of the corrupt people."
An official day of mourning for assassinated Vice President Haji Abdul Qadir was only sporadically observed by Afghans more focused on trying to eke out a living. Twelve people were being held by police in connection with the murder. None, however, is believed to have been directly involved. Despite President Hamid Karzai's vow to catch those responsible with the help of the UN's International Security Assistance Force, skeptics doubted the assailants would be brought to justice. Above, mourners gather in a mosque in Kabul, the capital.
With university students "grudgingly" deciding to obey a government ban on public demonstrations, Iran's cities were quiet on the anniversary of violent protests that rocked the Islamic republic in 1999. But a student leader said "our silence is a protest" and accused President Mohamad Khatami of betrayal for failing to fulfill his promises of reform and civil liberties and for refusing to stand up to the hard-line conservative clerics who run the country..
The coalition government of Turkey appeared on the verge of collapse, but embattled Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit was giving no hint that he would step down. Three more of his Cabinet ministers quit, bringing the total so far this week to six, as did 20 members of parliament from Ecevit's own party, and Deputy Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz called for formation of a new government.
A new bloc of states patterned after the European Union began its mission in Durban, South Africa, in the hope of leading the continent to greater progress in human rights, economic development, and democratic rule. The African Union succeeds the debt-ridden and largely ineffective Organization of African Unity.
Three weeks before its traditional deadline for submitting symbolic resignations, Peru's entire cabinet quit. It was not immediately clear why President Alejandro Toledo's ministers took the action now, although he was expected to accept the resignations of at least some of them at the end of the month.