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By Compiled from wire service reports by Robert Kilborn and Kristen Broman-Worthington / October 22, 2002



If the US abandons its "hostile policy," a senior North Korean government official said his country is ready to discuss "security issues" related to the development of nuclear weapons. But in its first public response, the Bush administration was noncommittal on the initiative. Meanwhile, South Korea and Japan, the US's partners in the 1994 Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization, signaled that they hoped it could continue, despite Secretary of State Powell's insistence Sunday that "As far as we're concerned, it's nullified."

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New evidence pieced together by police in Indonesia appeared to point to the Islamic extremist group Jemaah Islamiyah as a strong suspect in the Oct. 12 terrorist bombings on Bali. Authorities stopped short of saying the most powerful of the bombs that exploded that night was made and planted by the group. But they said the device was composed mostly of ammonium nitrate, an agricultural chemical that Jemaah Islam-iyah is known to have stockpiled at least four tons of. Its leader, Abu Bakar Bashir, remained under heavy guard in a hospital, although police said they doubt he really is ill.

Another Palestinian terrorist bomb killed at least seven Israelis and hurt more than 30 others aboard a bus traveling near the coastal city of Hadera. Police said it appeared the explosion happened as a car pulled alongside the bus, which erupted in flames. Responsibility was claimed by Islamic Jihad.

A runoff election for president became necessary in Ecuador after retired Army officer and onetime coup leader Lucio Gutierrez outdistanced all of his rivals in Sunday's first round of voting but failed to win a majority. Gutierrez was named on about 20 percent of the ballots, to 17.5 percent for wealthy banana grower Alvaro Naboa. Gutierrez, who helped topple President Jamil Mahuad two years ago, has projected himself as a defender of Ecuador's poor but denies that he is a carbon copy of controversial leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.

On the heels of weekend memorials to 92 Australians who died in the Oct. 12 terrorist bombings in Indonesia, a heavily armed assailant went on a shooting spree in a Melbourne university classroom, killing two students and wounding five. The gunman, described as appearing to be Asian, was overpowered by other students or there likely would have been more casualties, police said. They said it was too early to call the incident an act of terrorism. But it came as the government was developing plans for a homeland security department similar to that of the US.

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