World

Iraqis waited to see whether radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr would meet with a special delegation of political and religious leaders sent to Najaf to try to persuade him to end his two-week-old rebellion. Sadr has vowed a fight to the death with US forces, and peace negotiations with the interim government collapsed last weekend. His challenge to the interim government is considered its biggest to date. Meanwhile, a mortar shell fired by opponents of the government landed in Baghdad, killing at least seven people and wounding 42 others.

Proclaiming a new mandate for his governing style, President Hugo Chávez pledged to broaden his "revolution for the poor" of Venezuela after official results from Sunday's national referendum gave him a decisive victory over political opponents seeking to oust him. The leftist leader blasted the losers for lacking "the grace to accept that they did not succeed in recalling me." He also suggested they had sent gunmen to provoke chaos by shooting into a crowd of people in Caracas protesting the official tally. Seven people were wounded, one of them critically.

The fragile peace process in central Africa appeared in danger again as Rwanda and Burundi threatened to send troops into neighboring Congo unless the latter's forces disarm Hutu rebels behind the massacre at a refugee camp last Friday. The camp is just across the border in Burundi, and the rebels are accused of using Congolese territory to launch the attack. The 160 people who died were Tutsis, evoking memories of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Congo's defense minister said, "Invading our country isn't a solution." An invasion by Rwandan and Burundian troops in 1998 helped to touch off a five-year civil war in Congo that killed 3.5 million people.

"We should at least tell them 'thank you,'" Germany's largest newspaper editorialized in reaction to the announcement Monday by President Bush that tens of thousands of American troops and their dependants would return home over the next decade. But leaders of communities to be affected warned of impending economic disaster, and the premier of Bavaria, the state that probably will be hit hardest, called for economic help from Germany's central government. The Berlin government's coordinator for relations with the US called the plan "a sign of success" at having won the cold war and overcoming "European division."

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