World

A "final, final draft" of Iraq's proposed constitution still has not been produced, US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said Tuesday, suggesting that further changes may be forthcoming to appease Sunni rejectionists. But his view drew a quick retort from a leading Shiite member of the drafting committee, who said "only minor edits for the language" may be made to the charter.

With opinion polls showing he'd win, Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he will challenge Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for the leadership of Israel's ruling Likud Party. They are bitter rivals, and Netanyahu, himself a former head of government, quit as finance minister in protest on the eve of the controversial withdrawal of settlers from the Gaza Strip. Anticipating Netanyahu's announcement, Sharon blasted him Monday as a man who "panics" under pressure.

Three former security chiefs in Lebanon's government were detained for questioning in the Feb. 14 murder of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Also summoned by UN investigators in the case: the commander of the President Emile Lahoud's guard and a former member of parliament. All reportedly had pro-Syrian ties. The findings of the UN probe are expected to be made public in the next few weeks.

In a new blow to embattled Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the interim leader of his Workers' Party quit - its second chief to do so in two months. Lula chose former Education Minister Tarso Genro to clean up the party's image amid allegations that it had bribed members of Congress to support his government's policies. But Genro told a news conference that the party was unwilling to change its ways.

Cheering and dancing, members of parliament in Zimbabwe voted to strip landowners of the right to appeal if the government seizes their properties. The measure, which also gives President Robert Mugabe's regime the power to deny passports to its critics, was characterized as "closing the chapter of colonization." The opposition Movement for Democratic Change predicted that it would cost Zimbabwe any hope of agreement with Western donors for desperately needed aid.

The second major fire in less than a week killed seven more African immigrants in a Paris apartment building, bringing an order from President Jacques Chirac for an official investigation. The city had seized the rundown structure and was seeking other housing for the residents. Last Friday, a blaze in another old building housing Africans killed 17 people. In April, 24 Africans living in a budget hotel died in a third fire.

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