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President Bush's warning to Taiwan against holding a national referendum next year that could "change the status quo" with China was brushed aside by the Taipei government. In announcing his own reelection bid for next March's election, President Chen Shui-bian said the vote on whether to demand that China relocate hundreds of missiles aimed at Taiwan also would be held as planned. He urged "the international community" not to regard the Chinese threat "as a natural state of affairs." China, he said, chooses to oppose democracy on its own soil but shouldn't try to interfere with Taiwan's freedom to vote on the missile issue.

Iraq is too dangerous for the UN to resume operations there in the near future, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said. He said UN envoys to the volatile country would make only special visits from Cyprus because "I cannot afford to compromise the security of our ... staff." In Baghdad, meanwhile, the interim Governing Council announced creation of a tribunal to deal with crimes against humanity committed by persons in Saddam Hussein's regime from the day it came to power in 1968 until it fell last May.

Six more children and two adults were killed in an assault by US forces against renegade elements in eastern Afghan-istan, a military spokesman confirmed. Nine militants were arrested in the raid. But, following an international uproar over a similar incident earlier this week that killed nine Afghan children, the spokesman noted that the target of the raid was "a compound known to be used by a terrorist" and that it held "thousands of weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition." Meanwhile, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said he would not seek reelection if this weekend's loya jirga, or grand council of elders, decides on a parliamentary - rather than a presidential - system of government.

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Guards stopped a man carrying a briefcase full of explosives as he tried to enter the US Embassy in Lebanon. He was identified as a Lebanese national. A Palestinian suspected of having ties to him also was arrested nearby. The embassy remained open. The incident followed a State Department advisory to Americans in Lebanon to keep a low profile because of the rising volume of anti-US rhetoric there. Earlier this year, Lebanese authorities discovered a terrorist plot to assassinate US Ambassador Vincent Battle.

The first Muslim woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize accepted her award and promptly blasted the US for - as she put it - using the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as an excuse to violate human rights. In ceremonies in Oslo, Iranian rights activist Shirin Ebadi also questioned why "dozens of UN resolutions" against Israel's presence in Palestinian territories "have not been implemented properly" while "the West" chose to enforce resolutions against Iraq's former government.

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