Joyous residents of Bethlehem welcomed a column of Palestinian police as they moved to take over responsibility for security in the West Bank city from Israeli forces. The Israeli pullback came as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas, staged a joint show of reconciliation Tuesday, recommitting themselves to the peace initiative undertaken by President Bush June 4 at their summit in Aqaba, Jordan. A skeptical Bethlehem Mayor Hanna Nasser, however, called the pullback from the city "ceremonial ... not a real one."Skip to next paragraph
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Saboteurs or thieves shut down another vital oil pipeline in Iraq, causing a fire whose smoke could be seen six miles away. It was not clear how soon the line could be put back into service; armed Iraqis in the area made it unsafe for repair crews to reach the site. The incident came as senior US and British political leaders on a fact-finding tour of the war-torn country discouraged speculation that Iraqi resistance to rebuilding efforts might cause a premature end to the mission. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said, "There is absolutely no question of ... a pullout."
Only Taiwan remained on the official list of places where severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) was not under control after the UN's World Health Organization announced that Toronto had contained the virus. The Canadian city had the world's largest outbreak outside Asia, with 39 deaths and more than 27,000 people under quarantine. The WHO warned in April against travel to Toronto, lifting the advisory a week later but reimposing it in May because of what the agency called "an especially challenging outbreak."
Large crowds pushed and shoved for a glimpse as the two top leaders of Algeria's outlawed Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) were freed from detention. They were banned from all political activity, however, as a condition upon finishing their 12-year sentences for attacking the security of the state. FIS was one round from victory in the 1992 national election when the Army canceled the voting, triggering a violent insurgency that has killed an estimated 120,000 people and continues today.
Two new laws that will force the labeling of all genetically modified (GM) foods were passed by the 626-member European Parliament. They still must be ratified by European Union member governments but were immediately cheered by environmentalists. US officials, however, slammed them as "expensive for suppliers and confusing for consumers." A US suit against the de facto European ban on GM foods is pending before the World Trade Organization. American farmers estimate the moratorium costs them about $300 million annually in lost corn exports alone.