World

Mahmoud Abbas claimed victory in the Palestinian Authority's presidential election and was expected to be inaugurated as soon as Wednesday. But although Israel joined in welcoming his election, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said peace negotiations would not resume until after Abbas cracked down on Palestinian terrorists. The Palestinian Central Electoral Commission said Abbas won 62.3 percent of Sunday's vote.

Thirteen members of Sharon's own Likud movement were expected to defy him by voting against the new unity government he presented to parliament late Monday. In such an event, Sharon would have to depend on abstentions by leftist opposition parties or risk losing a no-confidence motion that would force a new national election.

Schools reopened in some of the hardest-hit towns in Indonesia and Sri Lanka for the first time since the Dec. 26 tsunami that killed more than 150,000 people. But reports said many of the pupils would spend the next few days in prayer, with lessons not resuming until next week. Meanwhile, the Red Cross estimated that its workers have yet to reach as many as 200,000 survivors in Indonesia's Aceh Province, citing logistical difficulties.

A new 11th-hour challenge was filed by defeated Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovich, delaying certification of the winner - at least for the moment. Attorneys for Yanukovich presented the appeal to the Supreme Court, even though he has acknowledged no hope of success. That court rejected four more challenges to the Dec. 26 runoff Monday, on top of his main appeal, which was dismissed last week. Viktor Yushchenko, the winner, said the appeals were "torturing the nation." Meanwhile, Yushchenko, who advocates withdrawal of the nation's troops from Iraq, was outflanked by retiring President Leonid Kuchma, who ordered such preparations Monday after eight of them died in a bomb blast.

Hundreds of thousands of people from Ireland to western Russia endured another day without electricity after rains and hurricane-strength winds over the weekend that caused at least 16 deaths. More rain was predicted for badly flooded Carlisle, England, where three of the deaths were reported. The storms also closed highways, ports, and schools. Insurance adjustors said it was too soon to calculate property damage but predicted it would be in the tens of millions of dollars in the Nordic/Baltic countries alone.

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