World

Chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix left Iraq after two days of discussions, as the Baghdad government said its own search teams would help to hunt for banned weapons of mass destruction. In a joint statement, the two sides said Iraq had handed over additional documents relating to its weapons programs, and Blix said he was "fairly confident" that all pledges made in the talks would be honored, including "encouraging" government scientists to "accept" invitations to be interviewed by UN experts. But he wouldn't indicate how he expects to characterize the weapons searches when he reports to the Security Council next Monday.

An unspecified "legal document" guaranteeing no US attack was demanded by North Korea's government as a precondition for resolving the standoff that began last October over its nuclear ambitions. The Pyongyang regime also said it would require that its representatives and those of the US meet "knee-to-knee" to negotiate over their "divergence of views." In Beijing, special US envoy John Bolton said he anticipated China's support on referring the North Korean issue to the UN Security Council. China is the North's closest ally.

Police bashed in the doors of a Muslim mosque in north London, confiscating documents and arresting seven men, as Britain's counterterrorism operations intensified. The mosque was described as a recruiting center for extremists and a source of support for their activities. But although the raid came in the wake of a recent discovery nearby of quantities of the deadly poison ricin, radical Muslims predicted it would backfire on authorities by angering moderates and improving recruitment efforts.

Voters go to the polls Wednesday in the Netherlands to choose their second parliament in eight months after the right-leaning coalition government collapsed last October due to internal feuding. As with last May's voting, this election is expected to turn on toughened stances against immigration and crime and the sluggish economy. Late opinion polls were giving the most measurable momentum to the socialist Labor Party.

Residents were fleeing their homes in the northern suburbs of Canberra, Australia, as an advancing wildfire bore down on them. Smoke hung over the capital from 402 dwellings destroyed over the weekend. Authorities, meanwhile, tried to fend off criticism that their firefighting crews were poorly prepared for the emergency and that residents hadn't been adequately warned of the danger.

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