World

Hamas claimed responsibility for Tuesday's two terrorist bombings in Israel - which killed 15 people and wounded dozens more - and said it now would expand the intifada with attacks on private Jewish homes. The development was the latest in a day of turmoil in which Israeli warplanes flattened the residence of Hamas co-founder Mahmoud al-Zahar in Gaza City, wounding him but killing his son and a bodyguard. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon cut short an official visit to India and flew home. His spokesman said Israel will demand that new Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ahmad Qureia, who accepted his appointment Wednesday, fight terrorism as soon as he takes office.

The death penalty was imposed on a fiery Muslim militant in Indonesia after his conviction for plotting last October's terrorist bombings of nightclubs on the resort island of Bali. The attacks killed 202 people, most of them Western tourists. Imam Samudra is the second militant sentenced to die for the crime. Three others were given long prison terms.

Nobel Peace Prize-winning democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi cannot be released from military custody in Burma (Myanmar) now because doing so would risk a return to political unrest, a senior police commander said. She was arrested May 30 after a violent clash between her supporters and those of the ruling junta. Neighboring governments have been demanding her freedom, preferably before next month's meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, of which Burma is a member. Brig. Gen. Khin Yi denied suggestions that Suu Kyi is on a hunger strike and said her detention "will not be too long."

Furious human-rights advocates in Colombia accused President Alvaro Uribe of endangering their lives in comments suggesting they acted "in the service of terrorism" by attacking his government's record. On Monday, Uribe publicly criticized a joint report by more than 80 such organizations entitled "The Authoritarian Curse." It accuses the military of using excessive force and putting civilian lives at risk in its campaign to defeat a 39-year communist insurgency. Last year, 17 human-rights workers in Colombia were murdered or disappeared, allegedly at the hands of outlawed right-wing militias.

Risking further isolation of its fragile economy, Argentina failed to meet Tuesday's deadline for a $3 billion payment on its debt to the International Monetary Fund. The default is the largest in IMF history. The decision was made not to "compromise" one-quarter of the nation's foreign currency reserves, a government statement said. Argentina has been trying to persuade the IMF to roll over $12.5 billion it's owed between now and 2006.

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