World

Smiling broadly at their first summit, the leaders of Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a mutual cease-fire - a deal that was denounced immediately by Hamas. Meeting on neutral soil at Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt, Ariel Sharon and Mahmoud Abbas pledged that Israelis and Palestinians would stop all hostilities against each other. Both said they expected the agreement to pave the way for resumption of negotiations on thornier issues between their peoples, such as the status of Jerusalem and whether Palestinians may return to lands in Israel that they or their relatives left behind many years ago. Abbas also accepted an invitation to visit Sharon at his ranch in southern Israel, and the governments of Egypt and Jordan announced that their ambassadors "could" return to their posts in the Jewish state within days. A Hamas spokesman said his organization would decide whether to continue attacking Israeli targets based on "the achievement of a substantial change" in the Jerusalem government's attitude toward "Palestinian demands and conditions."

Another 26 Iraqis were killed and 27 were wounded in terrorist attacks, bringing the casualty count to at least 80 in the past two days. The worst of the attacks targeted an army recruiting center in Baghdad as terrorists shift their focus after the Jan. 30 national election back to the units that ultimately will be responsible for internal security.

A license to clone human embryos for medical research was granted to the scientist responsible in 1996 for Dolly, the sheep that was the world's first cloned mammal. Prof. Ian Wilmut of the Roslin Institute in Scotland accepted the award from Britain's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority so he and fellow scientists can "generate stem cells purely for research purposes." He said their work would not attempt "reproductive cloning in any way."

Less than a month before the start of their scheduled peace negotiations, Filipino government troops and Islamic militants fought a fierce gunbattle in the southern province of Sulu. Between the two sides, as many as 70 people were killed, reports said. The clash with Abu Sayyaf rebels and renegade members of the Moro National Liberation Front broke out Monday after the latter groups went on the offensive to try to force the release of their imprisoned leader.

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