World

Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat was described by his own associates as furious at the summit Wednesday in which Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and Israel's Ariel Sharon pledged their efforts to advance the cause of peace. Publicly, Arafat said only: "Unfortunately, the Israelis did not give anything." But a Palestinian official, speaking anonymously, said Arafat was especially angered at Abbas's failure to mention the Israeli siege that has confined him to the West Bank for more than a year. The Bush administration and Israel have refused to have any further dealings with Arafat.

A two-phase pullback of US troops from the tense border between North and South Korea was agreed to by negotiators for the Seoul government and the Bush administration. The time-table calls for redeployment of the roughly 37,000 Americans and their headquarters south of Seoul, with procurement of land for that purpose scheduled to begin next year. The administration insists the move will enhance, rather than diminish, US military readiness on the peninsula.

A woman killed herself and at least 17 others when she detonated an explosive belt beside a bus carrying people to a Russian air base near the border with Chechyna. Some reports said the other victims were Air Force pilots. The attack, the third involving a woman in three weeks, came as Russia's parliament prepared to vote on partial amnesty for rebels fighting for Chechen independence.

Opposition leaders were trying to organize millions of Zimbabweans fed up with the government to end their week-long protest with marches Friday in the major cities. But the prospects for success were unclear, amid hundreds of arrests and reports of the first death in a confrontation with police.

Word from UN headquarters in New York was being awaited by special envoy to Myanmar (Burma) Razali Ismail on whether to go ahead with his scheduled visit Friday. Ismail insists on meeting with democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi. But in its most recent comment, the ruling junta, which took the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize-winner into custody last weekend, did not say whether he'd be allowed to see her.

An appeal was expected of the death sentence against the reputed boss of Vietnam's underworld. Truong Van Cam was ordered to face a firing squad for his conviction Wednesday on murder, bribery of high-ranking government officials, and five other charges in the communist nation's largest crackdown yet on crime and corruption.

By this weekend, only two areas of India's southern coast are likely to remain untouched by the arrival of monsoon rains that will relieve a three-week heat wave, meteorologists said. The searing heat is blamed for almost 1,400 deaths.

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