Two more Hamas radicals were killed in Gaza City as Israel's military resumed targeted airstrikes against Palestinian terrorists. Reports said 23 other people were hurt in the attack, one of three in the city in the space of five hours. A second rocket destroyed a building from which Israeli defense sources said the dead men had been loading weapons into their pickup truck. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon opened the winter session of parliament, reaffirming his cabinet's decision to "remove" Palestinian President Yasser Arafat "from the political arena."
Responding to President Bush's claim of "good progress" on resolving the problem of North Korea's nuclear weapons program, that nation's military test-fired a missile into the sea. Bush, at the summit of Asian and Pacific Rim leaders in Thailand, called for a new round of multilateral talks on the North's nuclear ambitions and urged the Pyongyang government not to further exacerbate tensions. Within hours, the short-range antiship missile was launched into the Sea of Japan.
Bush, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and Secretary of State Powell all blasted Asia's senior head of government for his anti-Jewish remarks last week. Reports said Bush confronted Malaysian Prime Minister Malathir Muhamad (above) at the Bangkok summit and called his views "wrong and divisive." Rice said they were "hateful" and "outrageous," while Powell said they "marred" the more positive elements of Malathir's speech to the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Malathir drew a standing ovation for alleging that "Jews rule the world by proxy" and "get others to fight and die for them."
Little, if any, progress has been made over the past year in giving Arab world residents freedom of expression and access to knowledge, a new UN report concludes. The document, written by Arab scholars and intellectuals, covers 21 countries (plus Palestinian areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip) and their more than 280 million people. Since last year's report, it says the challenges across the Middle East "may have become even graver," citing especially the lack of empowerment among females. Among its statistical findings: the Arab world has only 18 computers per 1,000 people.
A cabinet made up almost entirely of people independent of Bolivia's political system was named by new President Carlos Mesa, who warned them that the nation's balance was too fragile to withstand "any lack of perspective." Mesa also picked up support from the European Union, which pledged "additional resources" to help see his government through its transition period. But analysts questioned the wisdom of choosing ministers who share his lack of a political constituency.