An explosion damaged a passenger train in Yavneh, south of Tel Aviv, Israel, injuring the driver and possibly derailing prospects that Israel will ease tough restrictions on Palestinians in the West Bank. Hours before the blast, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres told Israel Radio, "We have no interest in staying in those places where the Palestinians can prove that they can take control." Further complicating Israeli-Palestinian mediation efforts, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, an armed group linked to Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, threatened to target the families of Israeli officials if Israel follows through on plans to expel the relatives of West Bank suicide bombers to the Gaza Strip. 7
In a deal brokered by the US, Spain and Morocco are to hold high-level talks Tuesday in the Moroccan capital, Rabat, on ending a fierce dispute over a rocky islet 200 yards off Morocco's northern coast. The soldiers were sent in last week to dislodge a Moroccan force that claimed the island July 11.
In a step toward ending Africa's longest civil war, Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army agreed to an internationally monitored referendum on independence for the south, after a six-year transitional period of autonomous rule. The two sides also agreed to continue their talks, hosted by Kenya, on a final peace deal. The 19-year conflict, between the mainly Arab and Muslim north and the largely Christian and animist south, has claimed an estimated 1.5 million lives and displaced 4 million people.
At least 25 people died and more than 50 were injured in a fire at a nightclub in Lima, Peru. Police said a bartender's fire-eating trick touched off the blaze at the Utopia disco early Saturday, during a "zoo party" that featured caged animals. A lion and a tiger also perished in the blaze. Officials said the club, inside an upscale shopping center, was unlicensed and did not have emergency exits or sprinklers.
A bus carrying travelers to a picnic in central Afghanistan hit a land mine, killing 13 people and injuring six others, a United Nations spokesman said. The driver reportedly ignored warnings that the route was mined. A demining team was subsequently sent to clear the road. The Red Cross estimates that land mines, left over from two decades of civil war, injure 3,000 Afghans annually.