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The casualty count from ongoing violence between Muslims and Christians in northern Nigeria rose to 215 dead, Red Cross officials said. Another 1,200 people were reported hurt, and the estimate of those left homeless was between 4,500 and 12,000. At least 22 churches and eight mosques in Kaduna, the city at the center of the clashes, were destroyed. Still, some observers said the fighting was a net victory for Muslims, since it drove the Miss World beauty pageant out of Nigeria. It will be held instead in London Dec. 7.

A strong denial was issued by the government of Saudi Arabia that it had sent cash payments to two of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers. A senior aide to Crown Prince Abdullah told CNN, "There is no evidence to that effect, whatsoever," after Newsweek reported that the FBI had found a steady stream of such payments in the amount of $3,500 a month from a bank account of Princess Haifa al-Faisal, wife of the Saudi ambassador to the US. Newsweek said the checks may have been funneled to the hijackers via Saudi students in the US. The aide said his government has been pursuing Al Qaeda "mercilessly." The Bush administration cautioned against a "rush to judgment" in the case.

Casualties were heavy in disputed Kashmir, where Indian Army soldiers were trading gunfire with suspected Muslim radicals who seized a Hindu temple Sunday night. Early reports said at least seven people died in the incident; 32 others were wounded. An unknown number of worshipers were trapped inside. The takeover of the temple came a day after two Muslim separatist groups claimed responsibility for a landmine that exploded under a bus in Kashmir, killing 12 people, six of them soldiers.

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Extremist Islamic propaganda, featuring speeches on video by Osama bin Laden, was found by Indonesian police in two houses rented by the suspected chief planner of last month's terrorist bombings on Bali. Imam Samudra, who was arrested last week, is accused of plotting the attacks, which killed almost 200 people. He reportedly vacated the houses Oct. 9, three days before the blasts. The houses are within a mile of the boarding school run by radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, who remains in custody although he has yet to be charged in the bombings. His Jemaah Islamiyah movement is suspected of having ties to Al Qaeda.

Voting was off to a slow but incident-free start in the runoff election in Ecuador between presidential candidates Lucio Gutierrez and Alvaro Naboa. Late opinion polls showed Naboa, Ecuador's wealthiest man, closing the gap against Gutierrez, a former Army colonel who spent six months in prison for leading the 2000 coup that toppled President Jamil Mahuad. Gutierrez won 20.4 percent of the vote, to Naboa's 17.4 percent, in the election's first round Oct. 12.

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