World

Drafters of Iraq's proposed constitution were down to their final hours to meet their extended deadline for completion. But Sunnis on the committee appealed for outside help so that the draft isn't pushed through parliament without their consent, complaining that "no active coordination and seriousness" from their Shiite and Kurdish colleagues on the 3 or so percent of the charter that had yet to be agreed upon. If Monday night's extended deadline isn't met, the interim constitution may have to be amended to prevent parliament from being dissolved before being presented with the document.

Bulldozers were knocking down empty houses in four Gaza Strip settlements Sunday as Israel's withdrawal drew closer to completion. By Monday, all Jewish settlers were expected to be out of the territory, and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's cabinet gave its final OK to the evacuation of four settlements in the West Bank that also are included in the plan. But in Katif in southern Gaza, residents set a massive fire of wooden planks, tires, and hay to try to keep police and troops at bay.

A planned attack by Al Qaeda on senior members of the British government and members of Parliament was foiled by Scotland Yard, according to police documents obtained by the Sunday Times (London). It said the plot called for the use of sarin gas as well as a "dirty" bomb, but its discovery resulted in increased security around Parliament this summer. Meanwhile, London's police chief said the policy of using deadly force against suspected terrorists will continue with minor adjustments, despite the mistaken shooting death last month of a Brazilian national.

An estimated 1 million people braved a chilly night in sleeping bags and tents to be on hand for new Pope Benedict XVI's last major appearance Sunday on his triumphal return to Germany. Speaking at the Roman Catholic Church's World Youth Day in Cologne, the pope urged his listeners not to view religion as a "consumer product," taking from it what comes easily but disregarding rules that can be challenging to observe.

At least 230 fires were burning across Portugal and Spain as they coped with the worst drought in years. With its own resources stretched to the limit, Portugal's government appealed to the European Union because, Prime Minister Jose Socrates said, "we need all the help we can get."

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