World

An emergency summit conference of Arab leaders was proposed by Iraq to "condemn US threats and ... solve peacefully any issue that may emerge from UN weapons inspections." A senior Iraqi official also suggested that Secretary of State Powell will "fabricate" evidence against the Baghdad regime in his presentation Wednesday to the UN Security Council. But an Australian newspaper and various Internet sites reported that Saddam Hussein's former senior bodyguard has defected to Israel and is providing detailed intelligence on sites in Iraq not visited by UN inspectors where banned weapons are hidden.

The leader of the defeated Labor Party accepted an invitation to meet with newly reelected Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, but refused an appeal to join a unity government. Amram Mitzna had campaigned for the Jan. 28 national election on that pledge. Meanwhile, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak invited Sharon to discuss "returning to the path of negotiations" for peace with the Palestinians. The two have not met for more than two years.

Security was intense, and guards kept reporters, foreign diplomats, and members of the political opposition at bay outside a courthouse in Zimbabwe's capital as defeated presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai went on trial for treason. The leader of the Movement for Democratic Change and two colleagues pleaded not guilty to charges that they plotted to kill President Robert Mugabe last year. If convicted, they could be sentenced to death.

The main faction of rebels in Ivory Coast's civil war "could accept" the No. 2 post in the Defense Ministry instead of the top job, a spokesman said, if that would break the deadlock over the unpopular peace accord brokered late last month by France. The deal has angered supporters of President Laurent Gbagbo and caused huge - and often violent - public protests. But other rebels said they'd resume fighting if Gbagbo didn't honor its terms.

Claiming victory, President Hugo Chávez graded Venezuela's political opposition with an "F" for the failure of the two-month general strike to topple him from power. He said strike leaders "must go to prison" for "the damage to the nation." Most businesses and institutions reopened Monday, although the strike was expected to continue in the vital oil industry.

Questions about the ability of German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder to survive politically were increasing after his Social Democratic Party was routed in two state elections Sunday. The defeat was especially keen in Lower Saxony, where the conservative Christian Democrats took away the governorship, his old job. Analysts said his prestige could take another major hit because of his opposition to war in Iraq if the US presents compelling evidence to the UN tomorrow that the Baghdad government has failed to surrender banned weapons.

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