World

The outcome of Sunday's election for a new government in Spain appeared to be anybody's guess in the wake of the terrorist attacks last week that killed or injured 1,700 people. Turn-out was heavy, and many voters said they wanted to punish the ruling Popular Party for backing the US counterterrorism war. Authorities announced the arrest of five suspects in Thursday's attacks, for which a videotaped message purportedly from Al Qaeda claimed responsibility. But police said they were not ready to rule out involvement by the Basque separatist group ETA.

Reacting angrily to its rebuke late last week by the UN's nuclear watchdog agency, the government of Iran suspended inspections until further notice. A Foreign Ministry spokesman called Friday's resolution by the International Atomic Energy Agency "insulting." It "deplores" repeated discoveries of activities and equipment with weapons-making applications that Iran had failed to declare, as required. US officials called Iran's move "very troubling."

Hamas and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade claimed responsibility for two terrorist explosions in the Israeli port of Ashdod that killed the bombers and at least nine other people. The attack came as aides to the Israeli and Palestinian prime ministers were discussing details of their first scheduled summit later this week. In the Gaza Strip, three more Palestinians were shot by Israeli soldiers who caught them planting explosives beside a road used by Jewish settlers. The Ashdod bombings were the 112th and 113th by Palestinians since the current intifada began in September 2000 and the first in a seaport.

More than half the eligible voters in Russia turned out for Sunday's presidential election, putting its outcome within the margin needed for it to be valid. Some political opponents of President Vladimir Putin had called for a boycott as the only way to express dissatisfaction with him. But late opinion polls projected he'd take 75 percent or more of the vote.

Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in South Korea's capital for a second straight day in the wake of the impeachment of President Roh Moo-hyun, a move that brought condemnation from rival North Korea. The Pyongyang government accused the US of orchestrating the "unprecedented coup" and demanded that imminent talks on matters of mutual economic interest be shifted to a site in North Korea.

Ousted Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was awaiting a chartered planeload of escorts for his return to the Caribbean as the Monitor went to press. Over the objections of Haiti's new interim leader, a delegation of US and Jamaican legislators led by Rep. Maxine Waters (D) of California planned to accompany him from exile in the Central African Republic to Jamaica's capital for a reunion with his children, who left Haiti before him for their safety. The nations are 115 miles apart, and interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue said Aristide's visit would "raise tensions."

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