World

The tortuous process of writing a proposed constitution for Iraq ended Sunday with parliament's acceptance and a call by President Jalal Talabani for a "yes" vote when the charter is put to a national referendum in October. But despite last-minute modifications aimed at meeting the concerns of the 15 Sunni Muslims on the drafting committee, they quickly rejected it as "illegitimate" and called on the UN, the Arab League, and "international organizations" to intervene so that it "is not passed." The referendum will fail if two-thirds of voters in any three provinces reject it. Sunnis constitute a majority in at least four provinces.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas asked Israeli leaders to exercise restraint after a terrorist exploded a bomb at a bus terminal in Beersheba Sunday, killing himself and critically wounding two security guards. Forty-eight others were slightly hurt or were hospitalized in shock. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. The attack was the first of its type since Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and from four West Bank settlements. Abbas denounced the bombing but suggested that it was triggered by an Israeli raid late last week that killed five Palestinians in the West Bank city of Tulkarm.

A drive-by shooting killed two Serbs and wounded two others in southern Kosovo late Saturday, ending a year-long lull in violence just as the UN is about to declare whether enough progress has been made on democratic reforms to open negotiations on the predominantly Albanian province's final status. Such talks would open later this year if UN officials rule that Kosovo has met international standards on human and minority rights. Albanians insist on outright independence; Serbs say the restive province should remain part of Serbia.

A year of relative calm also was shattered in Venezuela's capital, where supporters of leftist President Hugo Chávez fought with an estimated 1,000 opponents marching to demand electoral reform before the nation votes for a new Congress in December. Reports said demonstrators fought back after being hit by lighted firecrackers, bottles, rocks, and tear gas canisters. At least six people were hurt.

Despite an alert for terrorist attacks, an improvised explosive device blew up aboard a ferry loading passengers in the southern Philippines Sunday. At least 30 people were hurt, six of them badly. Authorities said a worse outcome was avoided only because the vessel wasn't yet on open water. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but suspicion quickly fell on the Islamist radical group Abu Sayyaf, which has ties to Al Qaeda and is at the center of a separatist campaign.

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