World

Terrorists trying to ambush a US military supply convoy south of Baghdad incurred their heaviest losses in months: 26 dead, seven more wounded, and one arrested. US forces also recovered rocket launchers, assault rifles, hand grenades, and thousands of rounds of ammunition. The fighting occurred near the site of a similar attack last Friday, and a US spokesman said the casualty count was the highest for the terrorists since last November's operation in Falluhjah. The number of attackers was considered unusually high, since terrorists now mostly travel in small bands.

A new initiative for making peace with Israel, offered by the king of Jordan, appears certain to go down to defeat as the Arab League meets Tuesday and Wednesday in Algeria. King Abdullah's initiative proposes normal diplomatic relations with the Jewish state in exchange for a return to its pre-1967 borders. Three years ago, the Arab League offered peace terms that also include creation of a Palestinian state and the right of return by Palestinians to homes they or their parents abandoned in Israel. Israel rejects that initiative, but other Arab leaders say there's no need to modify it.

Far from quieting down, the antigovernment protests in Kyrgyzstan intensified Monday despite President Askar Akayev's offer of negotiations with the demonstrators. Rioting spread from Bishkek, the capital, to other cities, with protesters attacking government buildings, setting fire to portraits of Akayev, and reportedly beating four policemen to death. Akayev ordered an official review of the parliamentary elections that the protesters claim were rigged. But he also warned of civil war if the dissidents try to copy Ukraine's recent "Orange Revolution."

Saying reform is "within reach," Secretary-General Kofi Annan called for the boldest changes to the UN in its 60-year history. But his spokesman rejected suggestions that the proposal is a "panicked response" to the imminent report on the probe of the UN's multibillion-dollar oil-for-food scandal in Iraq under Saddam Hussein. Annan said Monday he wants to make the UN more efficient, accountable, and responsive to security, human rights, and development issues. He also endorsed expanding the size of the Security Council. UN sources said Annan expects to be cleared in the oil-for-food scandal investigation, which also involves the actions of his son, Kojo Annan.

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