World

The Palestinian militant at the top of Israel's most-wanted list died in a late-night missile attack on his home in the Gaza Strip. Salah Shehadeh, chief of the "military wing" of Hamas, and his bodyguard were among 15 people killed in the attack by an Israeli warplane. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon expressed regret at the loss of noncombatants but called the mission "a great success." He said Israel would be on "full alert" for reprisals by Hamas and other Palestinian militants. Earlier in the day, Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin said his organization would consider halting suicide attacks if Israel withdrew its forces from the West Bank, among other concessions. So far this year, Hamas has claimed responsibility for five such attacks, which have killed 89 people.

An international chorus of condemnation followed the attack, led by the UN, Arab leaders, and the European Union, using such terms as "reckless" and "morally unworthy." Most predicted it once again would dash hopes for restarting peace negotiations. The Palestinian Authority said it would file a formal complaint with the UN's International Criminal Court.

An early election in November appears all but inevitable, and there is "no point" in trying to delay it, embattled Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit conceded. In a news conference, he denied he was considering resignation, despite calls even from within his own party to step down. Analysts say such a move likely would cause a potentially lengthy effort to cobble together a new government. Parliament, which failed Monday to ratify the November election in an emergency session, is to take up the matter again next week.

An outspoken opponent of US policy on Iraq and Afghanistan as well as consumerism was appointed the new spiritual leader of the world's 70 million Anglicans. The choice of Welsh-born Rev. Rowan Williams as the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury was not a surprise, although he will be the first non-Englishman to assume the post since the Church of England broke with the Vatican in the 1500s. Williams has said a US invasion of Iraq would be immoral, has called the Afghan conflict "morally tainted," has blasted computer games and the Walt Disney Co. for corrupting the lives of children, and has been a strong advocate of homosexual rights. He will succeed the retiring George Carey.

Effective immediately, diplomatic relations with tiny Nauru were suspended by Taiwan's government after the former switched its ties to mainland China. The move means Taiwan has bilateral relations with only 27 other governments, most of them small, developing nations. Taiwan, which had assisted Nauru with multiple developmental projects over the past two decades, accused the Beijing government of offering the Pacific island nation $1.4 billion in grants to make the switch.

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