World

In one of the most grisly scenes of postwar violence in Iraq, the remains of four foreign contractors killed in an ambush were dragged through the streets of Fallujah by jubilant residents. One of the victims was a woman and at least one other was an American. Two of them later were hanged from a river bridge. The city in the so-called "Sunni Triangle" is a hotbed of resistance to coalition reconstruction efforts. In other incidents Wednesday, five US soldiers died when their vehicle ran over a bomb and a terrorist killed himself and wounded 14 Iraqis by exploding a bomb in his car.

With most of the pressure coming from Saudi Arabia's delegate, OPEC appeared ready to implement its latest cut in production, despite complaints from the US and other importing nations. The move seemed certain to push prices for crude - already close to levels not seen in 13 years - higher. The 11-member cartel agreed to the 1 million-barrel-a-day reduction last month at its meeting in Algeria, but some delegations then admitted to having second thoughts because of the effect of the cut on struggling economies.

A powerful new explosion in Uzbekistan's capital was reported as the Monitor went to press, apparently causing numerous casualties. Emergency crews had responded, and police cordoned off the area. Although the blast went off not far from the scene of a shootout Tuesday between police and suspected Muslim terrorists, it was not immediately clear whether the incident was related to two days of violence that have killed 42 people there. Prior to the explosion Wednesday, the state prosecutor said 30 people were arrested and charged with violating the former Soviet republic's antiterrorism laws.

Prospects for a deal to end the deep divisions on Cyprus between Turks and Greeks were rated as "poor," with their last-ditch negotiations scheduled to come to a halt at midnight Wednesday. The parties to the longstanding dispute were meeting on neutral soil - along with representatives of the Greek and Turkish governments - at a resort in Switzerland, with UN Secretary- General Kofi Annan presiding. Annan was to detail his proposal for reunifying the island following the talks, with the hope of putting it to a referendum in the two sectors April 20. With or without a deal, the Greek sector of Cyprus is to be inducted into the European Union May 1.

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