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Iraqi officials promised to meet their UN-imposed Dec. 8 deadline for itemizing the nation's entire arsenal of weapons, including any intended to inflict mass destruction. Meanwhile, as the first arms inspectors began work in Baghdad, Secretary-General Kofi Annan predicted the UN would not view Iraqi firing at US and British jets enforcing no-fly zones as a "material breach" of the new Security Council resolution on inspections and disarmament/

An aged supertanker carrying twice as much oil as the Exxon Valdez split in two off Spain, threatening a major environmental crisis. The 26-year-old single-hulled Prestige reportedly had not been inspected since 1999. Authorities said their main hope was that its tanks wouldn't rupture as it sank, leaking more than the estimated 5,000 tons already spilled into rich fishing waters.

New violence flared in Venezuela's capital, where antigovernment protesters vowed to continue blocking streets in their bid to topple leftist President Hugo Chávez. Four people were hurt Monday as National Guardsmen fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse thousands of demonstrators during a march to deliver petitions demanding Caracas's police department be made autonomous again. Chávez nationalized the force last weekend, claiming it had repressed rallies by his supporters.

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Pro- and antigovernment demonstrators were out in force in Iran's capital, holding rival rallies as the confrontation over political and social reform entered its second week. No violence was reported. But in the provincial city of Ahvaz a pro-reform member of parliament and three students were severely beaten Monday by armed militiamen who broke up a rally they were attending. The hard-line Basij militia also vowed to stage a rally by 5 million of its members in Tehran Nov. 29.

The choice for minister of education in Turkey's new Muslim-dominated government was denied the job by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer. Sezer also switched other cabinet nominees of the Justice and Development Party to ensure that "secular principles" would prevail in the Justice Ministry and other key agencies. Besir Atalay, the choice to head education, once lost his post as a college dean for showing favoritism to teachers and students with Islamic views. Overwhelmingly Muslim Turkey is officially a secular democracy.

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