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The committee of Shiites, Kurds, and Sunnis that is drafting Iraq's proposed new constitution will wait until the last minute to decide whether a six-month extension is needed, its spokesman said. The panel's deadline for finishing the draft is Aug. 15. But work was delayed by a six-day boycott by Sunnis, who have only just returned to their duties. An extension also would push back the referendum on approving the charter and the election for a new government, which is scheduled for December. In an unannounced visit to Baghdad, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld urged the panel to "get on with it," adding that a delay "would be very harmful to the momentum that's necessary."

In other developments in Iraq:

• Al Qaeda claimed to have followed through on its vow to execute two kidnapped Algerian diplomats.

• Police said they caught a lieutenant to the No. 2 leader of Al Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in a raid on a farm near Baghdad. The captured man - like Zawa-hiri, an Egyptian - is believed to have financed terrorist operations in the volatile Sunni triangle.

• Kurds will never give up their demand for a separate state and will not disband their ethnic militia - even if that causes problems in finishing the draft constitution, senior political leader Massoud Barzani said.

An immigrant from Somalia and three other suspects were arrested by police in Britain's second-largest city, and a fifth man was detained as he was about to board a flight out of the country. News outlets identified the Somalian as one of the participants in botched bombing attacks on three London subway trains and a bus last Thursday, although police would not comment other than to say that he'd been taken from Birmingham to London for questioning at a high-security detention facility.

Sinn Fein leader Martin McGuinness was flying to the US, a traditional source of support for the Irish Republican Army, amid expectations that the militant organization will announce a major shift in policy Thursday. One possibility: outlining a series of steps that would lead to full disarmament. Sinn Fein is seen as the political arm of the IRA, which has been under intense pressure to disband since a recent series of crimes for which it has been blamed, chief among them a $39 million bank robbery last December.

The heaviest one-day rainfall in India's history - 37 inches - marooned Bombay, its financial hub, causing 87 deaths and stranding 150,000 railway passengers. In all, the Home Ministry said, monsoon rains have led to the deaths of 633 people and more than 76,000 farm animals over the past two months, plus the destruction of 1.7 million acres of crops.

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