World

At least six people, all civilians, died in an explosion in the southern Iraqi city of Basra. The early morning blast occurred on a road frequented by British troops, witnesses said. It came as the top US military commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, announced the arrest of 20 people suspected of links to Al Qaeda. US officials have said they suspect the terrorist group of involvement in stepped up attacks against coalition forces in Iraq.

A London-based Arab magazine said Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the bombing of a housing complex in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, that killed 18 people Saturday. The magazine said Abu Mohammed al-Ablaj, whom it identified as the group's head of training, vowed to stage more attacks in the Persian Gulf kingdom and warned "there would be no differentiating" between Americans and those who work or live among them. Saudi officials have detained several suspects in the blast. King Fahd vowed Monday to use an "iron fist against militants trying to violate security and stability."

Steel tariffs imposed last year by President Bush are illegal, the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled, clearing the way for the European Union to impose as much as $2.2 billion in retaliatory sanctions. The EU, Japan, South Korea, and China hailed Monday's decision by a WTO appeals panel and demanded that Bush rescind import duties immediately. But White House press secretary Scott McClellan said the administration will "look at its implications" before deciding on a response. McClellan defended the tariffs as necessary to give the US steel industry time to restructure.

Iran had a secret nuclear enrichment program for decades, and sources in four countries provided it with sensitive technology that could be used to develop atomic weapons, the UN's nuclear watchdog group said in a confidential 30-page report leaked to the media. However, the report by the International Atomic Energy Agency said there is no evidence - so far - that Iran has an actual weapons program, as the US claims. The agency's board meets Nov. 20 to determine whether Iran has violated an international nuclear treaty.

Raising hopes of a resolution to Sri Lanka's week-old political crisis, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe agreed to meet Wednesday with his rival, President Chandrika Kumaratunga. The president's recent actions - dismissing three senior ministers, suspending parliament, and indefinitely postponing peace talks with Tamil separatist rebels - have damaged the peace process, the prime minister's spokesman said, and Wickremesinghe "wants to make sure that it is not damaged any further." Kumaratunga maintains the rebel's peace proposal threatens national sovereignty.

Former President Frederick Chiluba is not immune from prosecution for alleged embezzlement, a Zambian court ruled, rejecting his claim that the charges are unconstitutional. Chiluba stepped down in 2001 after a decade in power. He is accused along with six other former officials of stealing $30 million in state funds, in a nation where most residents earn less than $1 a day.

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