World

The Philippines became the latest government to reject a demand by terrorists in Iraq that it withdraw its troops or see one of its nationals beheaded. A group calling itself the Islamic Army of Iraq-Khalid bin al-Waleed Brigade gave the Manila government 24 hours to announce that its 51 soldiers and police in Iraq would leave by July 20. They are due to return home Aug. 20, and a senior official said that schedule wouldn't change. The terrorists are holding a Filipino truck driver kidnaped last week near Fallujah.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ordered construction of Israel's security barrier in the West Bank to continue despite the ruling last Friday by the UN International Court of Justice that it is illegal and must be taken down. Sharon said the first Palestinian terrorist bombing inside Israel in four months proved the barrier is necessary. The blast, for which the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade claimed responsibility, killed a woman at a Tel Aviv bus stop and wounded 15 other people. About one-quarter of the wall-and-fence complex is complete.

Security concerns grew for the newly rescheduled presidential election in Afghanistan after a terrorist bomb exploded in the city of Herat, killing at least five people and wounding 34 others. The incident Sunday followed attacks by Taliban remnants the day before on two military checkpoints and the kidnapping Friday of 15 villagers accused of being loyal to the interim government. The villagers later were freed in fighting between their captors and militiamen. The election was set for Oct. 9.

A manhunt was ordered for six teenage males - described as being of Arabic appearance - who attacked a young mother aboard a suburban Paris commuter train in the belief that she was Jewish. In the incident Friday, the assailants cut off much of her hair, opened some of her clothing with a knife, and drew swastikas on her stomach with a marking pen. In the process, her infant fell to the floor. No one on the train came to their defense. The woman, who isn't Jewish, and her child were not seriously hurt. Reported acts of anti-Semitism in France so far this year already outnumber those of 2003.

The number of deaths rose to 209 and an estimated 1.6 million people in India alone were homeless because of flooding caused by monsoon rains. Tens of thousands more abandoned their homes in neighboring Nepal and Bangladesh. The flooding was worsened by a burst dam upstream in Bhutan.

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