Chief US administrator Paul Bremer reminded the interim Governing Council of Iraq that it does not have the power to reject 10,000 peacekeeping troops from neighboring Turkey. Bremer met with council members Wednesday, a day after Turkey's parliament OK'd the decision to send the troops only to have the Iraqis draft a resolution indicating they weren't welcome. Council members have said they oppose the deployment of troops from any countries on Iraq's borders. But they also said they'd search for a compromise and promised a statement on the matter "to protect our interests and the interests of our partner," the US. Turks are mostly Sunni Muslims, whereas the rival Shiites are a majority in Iraq.
Questions about Yasser Arafat's health dominated Israeli-Palestinian relations Wednesday, amid concern about who will assume the post of security chief in the latter's new government. Arafat's physicians denied published reports that the he has a degenerative neurological disease and had a recent heart attack, insisting he was simply weak from a stomach disorder. He remains under an Israeli threat to "remove" him because of ongoing Palestinian terrorist attacks, and if he were to leave his West Bank compound for medical treatment abroad there are doubts he'd be permitted to return. Meanwhile, Arafat's choice for new interior minister, Nasser Youssef, skipped his own swearing-in ceremony and said he'd only accept the post with assurances in advance from the Palestinian legislature that it would OK any security measures he chose to implement.
Suspicion fell on communist rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia for a car bomb explosion in Bogotá that killed at least six people - two of them policemen - and hurt 12 others. The blast, in a commercial district, occurred as the police were responding to reports of a suspicious vehicle. It was the most powerful in the capital since February, when a similar explosion killed or injured 196 people at an upscale social club.
A medium-range missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads and reaching targets in rival India was test-fired by Pakistan. It was the second test of its type in less than a week, but a military spokesman said the New Delhi government had been advised in advance of each and "this will have no impact on the situation" between the two nuclear powers. After a period of relative warmth last spring, India and Pakistan appeared headed toward bilateral peace discussions, but that climate has since turned frosty again.
Hopes for peace rose in the troubled African nation of Burundi after representatives of the government and the main Hutu rebel movement signed a power-sharing accord aimed at ending a decade of civil war. But the National Liberation Forces, the second-largest rebel group, rejected the deal and refused to cease hostilities. It was unclear how the pact would affect almost 1 million Burundians who sought refuge from the fighting in neighboring countries and have been waiting for peace to lure them back. The war has killed roughly 300,000 people.