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By Compiled from wire service reports by Robert Kilborn and Kristen Broman-Worthington / August 21, 2003



Amid the search for clues to the terrorist bombing of UN headquarters in Baghdad - and worldwide condemnation - Secretary-General Kofi Annan vowed: "We will persevere. We will continue.... We will not be intimidated." The massive blast, erupting from a cement truck packed with explosives, killed 20 people, among them Annan's envoy to Iraq and prospective successor, Sergio Vieira de Mello of Brazil. At least 100 others were hurt. UN officials confirmed that they had refused a heavy American security guard around the building so as to maintain an image of neutrality.

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A military response by Israel to Tuesday's terrorist bombing of a bus in Jerusalem will be delayed while Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas decides whether to arrest militants, the government said. That decision had yet to be announced as the Monitor went to press. But Abbas cut off contact with Hamas and Islamic Jihad, both of which claimed responsibility for the attack, and was meeting with his Cabinet. Israel's response will not include the expulsion of Yasser Arafat, reports said. The attack Tuesday killed 20 people and wounded more than 100 others.

Three million signatures on petitions for a recall effort against leftist President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela were delivered to the National Electoral Council at the first permissible opportunity by his opponents. But the petitions, which seek a referendum on Chávez's rule, face many potential bureaucratic and political roadblocks, and on a visit to Argentina he vowed to defend his "peaceful revolution" by force, if necessary. The Constitution allows for such a referendum after the midpoint of his six-year term, which arrived Tuesday.

"Very credible" intelligence indicates a plan by Tamil rebels to assassinate Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunga, her spokesman said. Suicide squads "have infiltrated [the capital] and are ready," the aide said. A Tamil assassination attempt in 1999 blinded Kumara-tunga in one eye and killed 19 bystanders. She is believed to remain a target because she opposes reconciliation efforts with the rebels by her political rival, Prime Minister Ranil Wickreme-singhe.

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