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Hizbullah mustered an estimated 200,000 to 500,000 demonstrators for a rally in Beirut in support of Syrian occupation. The demonstration appeared to dwarf those held earlier by Lebanese wanting Syria out of their country. But even as the participants rallied to fiery speeches on nationalism, the pullback of troops to the strategic Bekaa Valley was gathering momentum, and the Syrian government said that intelligence agents in Lebanon would be included in it.

Russians clustered around TV sets and radios for updated reports that a senior leader of the Chechen rebellion had been killed. A military spokesman said soldiers killed Aslan Maskhadov in the course of a "special operation" in Chechnya. The report could not immediately be confirmed, but videotaped footage showed the remains of a man who appeared to resemble him. Maskhadov, who is blamed for numerous terrorist attacks inside Russia - among them last year's takeover of a school in Beslan that killed 326 people - has had a $10 million price on his head. He recently had sought talks with President Vladimir Putin to discuss an end to hostilities, but the Kremlin has rejected any such meeting.

Large-scale war games will begin next month, Taiwan's Defense Ministry announced in response to new legislation proposed in China that would authorize an invasion if the self-ruled island makes any attempt to move toward independence. The measure, put before the National People's Congress, or legislature, in Beijing calls for "nonpeaceful means to stop secession," although it also says any such use should be a "last resort" if all other efforts for reunification "prove futile." Taiwan split from China in 1949.

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In a late switch, it is the isolated West Bank city of Jericho that will be handed over to the Palestinian Authority, rather than Tulkarm, a senior Israeli announced. He said the transfer would take place "in the next two days." The official said the change had been worked out with Palestinian representatives, but some senior Palestinians denied they'd been informed of it. Tulkarm is immediately adjacent to Israel, and the Palestinians are not yet prepared for its transfer, the Israeli official said.

Saying, "I received an official indictment today," the ethnic Albanian prime minister of Kosovo resigned to defend himself before the UN's war-crimes tribunal for the Balkans. Ramush Haradinaj insisted he is innocent of atrocities allegedly committed while he led the rebel Kosovo Liberation Army in the late 1990s.

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