Americans living in Arab countries were warned to be especially vigilant amid Palestinian calls to seek reprisals for the killing of Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin. Yassin died in an Israeli missile strike Monday in Gaza City, provoking a chorus of international condemnation against the Jewish state and analysts' forecasts of a new wave of violence. The analysts also predicted Arab governments would reorder their priorities because of Yassin's death, probably resulting in a decision not to push for reinvigorated peace efforts with Israel at their scheduled summit beginning Monday in Tunisia. For its part, the Israeli government repeated the declaration that all Palestinian militant leaders are "in our sights [and] there is no immunity to anyone."Skip to next paragraph
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Appearing in public for the first time since Taiwan's tumultuous national election last weekend, President Chen Shui-bian promised to accept the outcome of a recount. He won the hotly disputed race with opposition candidate Lien Chan by about 29,000 votes out of 13 million cast. More than 330,000 ballots were declared invalid. With Lien supporters massed outside the presidential palace, Chen proposed legislation that would revise election law to permit recounts when the margin of victory was 1 percent or less. But he said Lien also would have to accept the recount outcome.
A formal inquiry into corruption in the UN's oil-for-food program was approved by the interim Iraqi Governing Council. A spokesman said toppled dictator Saddam Hussein "was able to loot billions of the Iraqi people's money" under UN supervision and "all personalities ... all over the world" who allowed themselves to be bribed by Hussein would be subject to an inquiry by legal and financial experts whom the council would hire. The UN already is conducting an in-house investigation. Its own director of the program appears on a published list of those accused of profiting illegally from what was intended to be a humanitarian effort.
The number of deaths blamed on Muslim separatists in southern Thailand rose to 54 after gunmen shot a policeman in the back of the head as he was directing traffic. Another police officer was critically wounded by assailants in a neighboring province. Meanwhile, Thailand's defense and interior ministers, who were in the region conferring with police on the spiraling violence, escaped harm when a bomb exploded across the street from where they were meeting. A second bomb found in a nearby parking garage was defused by experts. Such incidents have occurred almost daily since early January despite the government's promise to spend $300 million on development projects in the region.