World

Outraged political leaders across Eastern Europe lashed back at French President Jacques Chirac after he demanded that they mute their strong backing for US policy on Iraq. At an emergency European Union summit on the issue, Chirac said his counterparts had missed "a great opportunity to shut up," and couldn't have chosen a better way to dash their hopes for EU membership. Ignoring Chirac, the future members endorsed an EU warning to Iraq that its regime has "one last chance" to avoid war by surrendering its weapons of mass destruction.

Iraq's regime tolerated the first overflight of its territory by a U-2 spy plane in support of UN weapons inspectors. But Foreign Minister Naji Sabri appealed to other Arab nations to withhold oil shipments to the West as a way to "prevent a war or severely limit its impact."

The US was asked by the government of Turkey for more than twice the aid originally offered in exchange for use of its soil for attacks on Iraq. The leader of the new ruling party in Ankara said the question of approving such use would not be put before parliament until the demand for $30 billion in grants, loans, and debt forgiveness was met.

Another senior member of Hamas was killed by Israeli troops as he resisted arrest in the West Bank city of Hebron. His death was the eighth in the ranks of the Palestinian militant organization in two days. Meanwhile, Israel eased the travel restrictions on Palestinians that were imposed for the four-day Muslim holiday marking the end of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

An antiviolence pact was agreed to by Venezuelan government negotiators and political opponents of President Hugo Chávez. The accord urges both sides to tone down the angry rhetoric that marked the recent two-month general strike aimed at toppling Chávez. But it carries no penalties, and critics predicted it will do little to end the political conflict or move the nation closer to a new election.

With hundreds of international monitors watching, voters in Armenia go to the polls Wednesday to choose a president. Despite his government's failure to reach a peace deal with neighboring Azerbaijan over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, incumbent Robert Kocharian is widely expected to be reelected.

The casualty count from an arson fire in a Taegu, South Korea, subway station stood at 120 people dead, with dozens more still unaccounted for. Police said the blaze was started by a man with a history of mental illness who lighted a carton of flammable liquid and threw it into a packed passenger car. Flames spread to a second train as it pulled into the station.

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