World

Controversy raged in a tense Iraqi city over the number of casualties from the fiercest confrontation yet reported between US forces and guerrillas resisting the postwar rebuilding effort. Doctors in Samarra, 62 miles north of Baghdad, put the number of dead from attempted ambushes at six, or 40 fewer than were claimed by a US Army commander. The latter cautioned journalists that "the adversary will not bring all the casualties to local hospitals." He said 11 others from two firefights that erupted Sunday afternoon were captured and were being interrogated.

Hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians gathered in Geneva for a ceremony in which an unauthorized, symbolic peace treaty between their two camps was to be signed. The so-called "Geneva Accord," initiated by ex-Israeli Justice Minister Yossi Beilin, was negotiated in secret, although its backers say it is in line with the US- and European-sponsored "road map" to Middle East peace. But Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon calls it subversive, insisting that only governments may conduct such negotiations. Palestinian leaders also haven't endorsed it.

Stopping just short of a definitive declaration, Turkey's government said those behind last month's terrorist bombings in Istanbul "seem ... linked to the Al Qaeda" organization. The bombings of two synagogues and two British targets killed 61 people. Senior Turkish officials said 21 suspects have been charged in the crimes to date and confirmed that 22 others were turned over last weekend by neighboring Syria. Still others were caught trying to flee to Iran.

Women and men lined up separately in religiously conservative Kandahar, Afghanistan, to register for next June's presidential election, a first for the war-torn country. All Afghans 18 and older as of next June qualify, according to the UN, which is conducting the $78 million registration project. A UN official estimated the number could reach 10.5 million people.

Embattled President Rolandas Paksas is personally linked to a scandal involving Russian organized crime figures, an investigation by Lithuania's parliament concluded. The finding paves the way for his impeachment. Paksas has been the object of massive street protests in Vilnius, the capital, demanding that he resign. He has denied wrongdoing and has refused to quit, setting the stage for a lengthy impeachment process just as Lithuania prepares to enter into European Union and NATO membership next year.

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