World

Israel was on high alert and froze an easing of security restrictions on Palestinians in the West Bank after the second deadly attack on civilians in two days. Five people, including the two bombers, were killed and more than 25 were injured in near-simultaneous explosions in Tel Aviv Wednesday night. Earlier, Israeli aircraft bombed a metal factory in the Gaza Strip, which the Israeli military claimed made weapons for Hamas. The surge in violence came as Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat reportedly was considering naming a prime minister to take over day-to-day affairs. Israel and the US have been pressing Arafat to hand over power.

Greek police said they captured a main leader of the November 17 terrorist group and three other members of the elusive organization. The latter reportedly confessed to a series of killings and bombings. The break came June 29, when a bomb the group allegedly planned to set off in the tourist port of Piraeus went off prematurely. The extreme left-wing group has claimed responsibility for 23 killings, starting with the 1975 assassination of CIA station chief Richard Welch.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder fired Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping, after reports that he accepted $72,000 in royalties from a public-relations adviser. The removal came 10 weeks ahead of national elections, in which Schröder is facing a serious challenge from Bavaria's conservative governor, Edmund Stoiber.

A scientist who helped develop nuclear missiles was chosen as India's next president, a largely ceremonial post. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam won more than 89 percent of a vote by Parliament and state legislatures. Kalam said rural development and alleviation of poverty are key priorities for the country.

A 24-hour strike brought most of the London Underground to a halt, forcing 3 million daily passengers to seek alternative transportation. The Rail, Maritime, and Transport Union is disputing government plans for a partial privatization of the subway system, known as the Tube.

The British Consulate in Melbourne, Australia, denied asylum to two boys who fled the remote Woomera immigrant detention facility, handing them over to Australian authorities. A lawyer for the boys called the decision "inhumane and barbaric." Australia's immigration minister said the family claimed to be Afghan refugees, but were actually from Pakistan.

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