World

UN weapons inspectors would return to Iraq Oct. 19, under plans being developed by their chief, Hans Blix, diplomats said. Diplomats also maintained that, given Russian and French opposition to the tough new resolution on disarming Iraq sought by President Bush, the US "does not stand a very good chance" of convincing the Security Council to approve it. (Related stories, pages 1, 4, 7.)

Most indications pointed to a relatively easy victory in Brazil's presidential election Sunday by leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. But his rivals disputed late opinion polls showing him with a 24-point lead and predicted a runoff would be necessary. A second round would be held Oct. 27 if no candidate wins 51 percent of the valid ballots. A key issue in the election, analysts said, is violence, a point underscored by Rio de Janeiro state's request for army troops to guard against "attempts to destabilize the process." Below, election workers pack electronic ballot boxes. (Story, page 6.)

In a new display of defiance, senior Palestinian leader Marwan Barghuti accused the Israeli court that will try him for murder of being a "carnival" and exhorted his followers not to obey curfews imposed on West Bank cities by the Jewish state's security forces. His latest appearance before the court was interrupted twice to restore order as Israelis who'd lost family members in Palestinian terror attacks screamed abuse at him. (Related story, page 1.)

There were no immediate reports of casualties from a grenade explosion outside a Christian church in the southern Philippines, the second such attack in two days. Police blamed the first explosion, which killed a US soldier and wounded another, along with 24 Filipinos, on the Abu Sayyaf Muslim terrorist group, which has been linked to Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda organization.

Prospects for a failed runoff election for president in Serbia grew after the third-place finisher in last weekend's initial vote announced a boycott by his political party. If Vojislav Seselj's Radical Party followers stay away from the polls Oct. 31, the runoff between Vojislav Kostunica and Miroljub Labus might not attract the minimum turnout needed to make its outcome valid, analysts said.

The death sentence of Abdullah Oçalan, the Kurdish rebel leader captured three years ago by Turkey, was commuted to life in prison. Oçalan once was public enemy No. 1 in Turkey because of the violent campaign for Kurdish self-rule, which killed at least 37,000 people. His execution order has been an issue in Turkey's failure so far to be admitted to the European Union.

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