Suggestions by senior Israelis that killing Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat - or at least deporting him - is "an option" were rejected flatly by Secretary of State Powell. Powell predicted that either step would cause "rage throughout the Arab [and] Muslim world." And in considering such a step, some influential Israeli editorial columnists wrote, the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon only succeeded in "resurrecting" Arafat, whom it previously had said it considered irrelevant. Engulfed at his West Bank headquarters by thousands of ordinary Palestinians who vowed to be human shields against any use of Israeli force, a beaming Arafat denounced Israel's threats and called for a return to peace negotiations.
Reacting angrily to the Oct. 31 deadline for proving that their nuclear program is peaceful, senior Iranian officials said their cooperation with the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency is being reexamined "by the relevant authorities." They accused the IAEA of ignoring their advice "to stay away from political games and not allow itself to be misused by ... the US" in setting the deadline last Friday. The German magazine Der Spiegel quoted Iran's delegate to the IAEA as hinting that his government could choose to quit the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
Petitions calling for a national referendum on leftist President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela were ruled invalid Friday by the National Elections Council, which said their 3 million signatures were collected before the Aug. 19 midpoint of his six-year term. The ruling was the latest setback to opponents of Chávez, who has vowed to fight recall efforts by all means legally possible. The council said it would issue rules on the recall process this week, and opposition leaders vowed a new drive next month to collect even more signatures. Chávez contends that voter rolls are outdated and must be overhauled first.
There was dancing in the streets of Libya's capital as the UN Security Council voted to end 11 years of economic sanctions against the government of Muammar Qaddafi. The US and France abstained from the vote, and an American embargo against Libya that is tougher than the UN sanctions remains in force. Libya's Foreign Ministry called for it to be repealed.
Police closed the only independent daily newspaper in Zimbabwe late Friday after the Supreme Court ruled it had failed to obtain a license under the nation's year-old Access to Information Act. The four-year-old Daily News of Harare gave a voice to opponents and critics of hard-line President Robert Mugabe but has been a frequent target of harassment. Its chief executive was expected to be formally indicted Monday in connection with the court ruling.
A nonviolent military coup toppled the government of impoverished Guinea-Bissau, and the Army's chief of staff declared himself president "until there are elections." He did not set a date for the vote but said he'd set up a committee to work on restoring democracy. The Army and the government had been at odds for the past five years, and President Kumba Yalla survived two previous coup attempts.