World

Three American missionaries in Yemen were killed and a fourth was wounded when a gunman opened fire at the Baptist hospital where they worked. A suspect, alleged by authorities to be a Muslim extremist, is in custody and security forces reportedly were searching for up to eight more members of a terrorist cell targeting foreigners. The US Embassy in the capital, Sanaa, said it was sending a team to assist in the investigation and advised Americans to increase security precautions.

Worried that North Korea may soon pull out of a nuclear arms control treaty, South Korean leaders called for dialogue Monday with the communist state. Secretary of State Powell said Sunday that the US is looking for ways to communicate with Pyongyang, but that direct negotiations would only reward the decision to revive its nuclear program and to expel UN inspectors.

After French police found guns and explosives in his car, a baggage handler at Paris's Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport was arrested last weekend. Police said Abderazak Besseghir, a French citizen of Algerian origin, had no prior criminal record and no known ties to terror groups. His father, two brothers, and an acquaintance also were detained as part of the investigation.

In a surprise move, Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said she won't run for the post in elections due by 2004, and will devote the remainder of her term to the country's deep economic woes. Arroyo, the former vice president, took office in January 2001 after a corruption scandal forced President Joseph Estrada from power. She's faced repeated crises over Muslim militants with links to Al Qaeda, leftist rebels, a ballooning deficit, and 11 percent unemployment.

An Indonesian court sentenced an American nurse and a British researcher to four and five months in prison, respectively, for violating their visas through contacts with separatists in Aceh province. Above, Joy Lee Sadler of Waterloo, Iowa, and Lesley Jane McCulloch of Scotland await the verdict. Both are considering appeals.

At least 27 inmates died and another 50 were injured in a fire at a prison in northern Iran, the state news agency IRNA reported. Authorities are looking into the blaze, believed caused by an electrical fault.

Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei Stock Average ended 2002 at a 20-year low, losing 135 points to close at 8,578.95 Monday. Trading won't resume until Jan. 6. During the past year, the index has lost 19 percent of its value amid concerns over Japan's heavily indebted banks and high unemployment.

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