World

A tribal council is to be allowed into the combat zone in northern Pakistan Monday to try to negotiate a deal that would end six days of fighting between government troops and residents believed to be sheltering members of Al Qaeda. But there was no further word on the identity of the "high-value target" the military has said is believed to be in the besieged area. An Army commander said the council would present a set of demands: the handover of "all wanted people" and the release of soldiers and civilians taken prisoner early in the confrontation. More than 100 suspects arrested late last week were being interrogated, but their identities and nationalities were not divulged.

One of the most tumultuous weeks in Taiwan's history ended with the Supreme Court sealing the ballots that gave President Chen Shui-bian a second term in office. Shaking with anger, runner-up Lien Chan demanded a recount after losing by about 30,000 votes, with almost 338,000 others ruled invalid. A concurrent referendum demanding that neighboring China dismantle missiles aimed at Taiwan failed because a majority of voters refused to participate. On election eve, Chen and Vice President Annette Lu were slightly wounded in an assassination attempt, and a manhunt was under way for two suspects.

Gunmen assassinated the second aviation minister of Afghanistan as he rode in a car in Herat, the nation's No. 3 city. Mirwais Sadiq's two bodyguards also died. Speculation for the motive centered on a private feud with the chief of the surrounding province. Sadiq's predecessor was shot to death two years ago, as was Afghanistan's vice president.

Fighting back tears, embattled German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder stepped down as leader of his Social Democratic Party (SDP), still vowing to press ahead with his widely unpopular reform agenda. But despite an abortive attempt by left-wingers to splinter the party by forming a breakaway faction, Schröder won a standing ovation for his farewell speech, in which he conceded, "For many people, I wasn't an easy leader, but I did the job in difficult times." Above, Schröder acknowledges the applause, with new SPD leader Franz Muentefering at his side.

Former Queen Juliana, who died Saturday, held the Dutch throne from 1948 until 1999, when she yielded it to her daughter, Beatrix, and retired from public life for health reasons.

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