World

Led by Pope John Paul II, new expressions of support for Iraq's offer to readmit weapons inspectors were announced by world leaders. And the Baghdad government was following up its initiative by pressuring the UN to "prove its good intentions and its credibility" by protecting the presence of inspection teams and "the length of this mission" from the "hegemony" of the US. Meanwhile, the Security Council was attempting to schedule a meeting with chief inspector Hans Blix to discuss renewed investigations of suspected Iraqi facilities.

A Palestinian terrorist bomber killed himself and a bystander and injured at least three other people in the midst of rush-hour at a bus stop in northern Israel. The incident was the first of its type since Aug. 4. No immediate claim of responsibility for the attack was reported. Aides to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon blamed the bombing on "complete inaction by the Palestinian Authority" to stop terrorism and said the blast justified continued Israeli reoccupation of Palestinian areas in the West Bank. Earlier in the day, Sharon rejected a Palestinian proposal to end attacks against Israeli civilians, saying he'd settle for nothing less than a "total cessation" of violence.

In an apparently major shift in strategy, Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels ended the first round of peace negotiations with the government by dropping their demand for a separate state. Instead, a spokesman said, they want "regional autonomy and self-government." As recently as April, rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran said it was too soon to discuss giving up the guerrilla campaign for "eelam," or statehood. An aide to President Chandrika Kumaratunga told reporters the apparent change was welcomed tentatively but that a more formal reaction would await a full study of the Tamil announcement. Three more rounds of talks are scheduled between the end of October and next Jan. 9.

Over the protests of Jewish groups, a French court ordered the release from prison of convicted World War II Nazi collaborator Maurice Papon. He was whisked away to an undisclosed location. The court ruled that Papon, who's in his 90s, is too ill to finish the 10-year sentence he began in 1999. Jewish leaders argue that he has shown no remorse for his actions, and President Jacques Chirac three times has refused to grant him clemency.

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