World

With discussions on resuming weapons inspections under way in Vienna, senior Iraqi leaders pledged their government's help to "find out the truth through scientific methods." But they left unanswered a question on whether UN experts would be allowed inside such sensitive sites as President Saddam Hussein's palaces. Meanwhile in the Austrian capital, chief UN inspector Hans Blix (above, speaking to reporters after the session with Iraqi representatives) said the discussions focused on "practical arrangements" to avoid misunder- standings inside Iraq "if and when inspections come about."

A compromise that would offer American troops serving overseas limited immunity in the International Criminal Court was announced by the European Union. In the hope it would end a row with the Bush administration, the EU said its members could negotiate "bilateral" deals within "guiding principles," or "red lines," that would call for suspected offenders to be prosecuted by US authorities. The Bush administration has refused to support the new UN tribunal on grounds that it could become a forum for politically motivated prosecutions of Americans.

In his first major move to shake up Japan's government, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi fired a deputy who'd resisted aggressive reforms of the troubled banking sector. Koizumi replaced Financial Services Minister Hakuo Yanagisawa because "I wanted to push further my policy position of 'no reform, no growth' ... without being bounded by the past." Yanagisawa's successor, Economics Policy Minister Heizo Takenaka vowed to conduct a thorough review of the banking sector to "fix what can be fixed." Japan's banks carry $424 billion in nonperforming loans.

An Oct. 31 runoff election for president of Serbia became necessary after voters failed in Sunday's first round to give either Vojislav Kostunica or his closest rival more than 50 percent of the ballots. Kostunica, who currently is the successor to Slobodan Milosevic as President of Yugoslavia, would lose that title under a program of constitutional reform. He was predicting victory over Deputy Prime Minister Miroljub Labus, who has vowed to pursue close ties with the US and European Union. Kostunica has criticized both for allegedly trying to impose their concepts of reform on the tattered Balkan nation.

Both the number of people aboard a capsized African ferry and the likely number of casualties were raised by senior officials in Senegal. They said the Joola, which turned over in rough weather Saturday, was carrying 1,034 passengers and crew members – 238 more than first reported. To date only 64 have been rescued. The ferry, with a capacity of 550, was built for use on inland lakes and should not have attempted sea voyages, authorities said.

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