Saying, "We are always opting for the path of peace," Iraq's leadership formally accepted the new UN resolution on weapons inspection and disarmament. In a letter to Secretary-General Kofi Annan two days before its deadline, the Baghdad government pledged "to receive the inspectors within the assigned timetable." The resolution gives Iraq until Dec. 8 to provide a full accounting of its nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programs. CNN reported that President Bush, commenting on the Iraqi move, warned that the US would have "zero tolerance" for interference with the weapons inspectors.
Israeli defense officials identified the Palestinian militant suspected of shooting to death five kibbutz residents last weekend and sent troops into the West Bank city of Nablus in the largest security sweep in months, looking for him. Residents were ordered into the street as helicopters hovered overhead. At least 30 Palestinians were arrested, with public radio reporting that the troops had a mandate to operate "for as long as necessary" to shatter the infrastructures of terrorist organizations. Meanwhile, new Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed, if elected to head Israel's government next January, "the first thing I will do" is send Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat into exile. (Related story, page 8.)
Security forces kept their distance in Iran's capital as university students staged a fifth straight day of protests against the death sentence issued to a popular professor convicted of blaspheming Islam. But the atmosphere was calm despite reports that Hashem Aghajari, an advocate of political reform and an ally of President Mohamad Khatami, would not appeal his sentence. In his first public comment on the case, Khatami called the death sentence "inappropriate." (Story, page 6.)
Ending months of speculation, China's Communist Party Congress confirmed that President Jiang Zemin and five other key leaders are retiring. The disclosure means that when the congress votes today on a new generation of officers, it will result in the first orderly succession in the party's history. The vote appears certain to elevate Vice President Hu Jintao to the top job. Jiang, parliament chief Li Peng, Premier Zhu Rongji, and two other senior leaders are in their 70s; Hu is 59. It remains unclear whether Jiang will keep the chairmanship of the Central Military Commission, which commands China's huge armed forces. (Story, page 7.)
The Roman Catholic archbishop of Caracas escaped injury when a grenade exploded outside his residence as tensions in Vene-zuela rose still higher. The incident late Tuesday followed clashes in the streets between Army troops and supporters of President Hugo Chávez. One person died and 20 others were wounded by gunfire. The protesters had surrounded City Hall, trapping leading Chávez opponents inside, among them the mayor. The sides are trying to negotiate a solution to Vene-zuela's long-running political crisis, brokered by the Organization of American States.