World

Having missed their deadline for drawing up a provisional constitution over the weekend, members of Iraq's Governing Council were aiming to finish in time for a signing ceremony Wednesday, reports said. The glitch was seen as another in a series as the US plans to cede control of their affairs to Iraqis by June 30. The delay was attributed to differences over how to distribute power among the various ethnic and religious interests and over balancing Islam with secularism.

Rebels and an international military force that includes Americans appeared headed for a confrontation in Haiti's capital following the resignation Sunday of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Both groups said their mission was to provide security. As Aristide fled, reportedly to South Africa, Supreme Court Chief Justice Boniface Alexandre assumed the leadership "because the Constitution indicates it." Aristide said he was leaving to "prevent bloodshed," but shooting could be heard in the capital as his angry supporters looted police stations and stores.

Israel's Supreme Court ordered a one-week suspension in the building of the security barrier in the West Bank so a new route could be studied that would minimize the impact on Palestinians. The ruling came one day after Israeli forces rocketed a car carrying three Islamic Jihad militants in the Gaza Strip, killing them and injuring as many as 15 bystanders.

A report that Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is in US custody and that his capture will be announced when it best helps President Bush's reelection prospects was denied by the Pentagon Saturday. A spokes-man described the report, on Iranian state radio, as "another piece of stray voltage," although the broadcaster said it came from "a very reliable source."

Almost 200 people remained missing after an explosion and fire that sank a ferry in the Philippines late Friday. The Muslim extremist group Abu Sayyaf claimed it sank the vessel, but President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo dismissed that as attempted propaganda.

There was no immediate reaction from China's leaders following the estimated 2 million-strong human chain across Taiwan Saturday. The largest demonstration in Taiwan history was organized as a protest against the hundreds of missiles aimed at the island from the mainland. A March 20 referendum, which the Beijing government opposes, asks whether the more defensive measures should be taken if China doesn't dismantle the missiles.

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