World

Three days of mourning were declared by Iraq's president after at least 695 people died when a Shiite religious procession in Baghdad turned into a stampede. The loss of life was the worst in a single day since the war to oust Saddam Hussein's regime began in March 2003. A Health Ministry official said his agency expected the number of deaths to rise to 1,000, and Interior Minister Bayon Jabor blamed "a terrorist" for spreading rumors that "a suicide bomber" was in the crowd, causing panic. Tensions in the capital already were running high after mortar shells fell on the pilgrims outside a mosque earlier in the day, killing at least seven people and wounding 36 others. A Sunni radical group claimed responsibility for that attack.

One of the five prominent Lebanese being questioned in the investigation of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri's assassination was released only hours after surrendering. But the others, all generals, were under heavy guard, and their interrogation was expected to send shock waves through neighboring Syria, which is widely suspected of a role in the murder. Syria already has been criticized for its alleged failure to cooperate with the probe.

The president of Kosovo was undergoing intensive treatment in a US military hospital, causing concern that he won't be able to participate in negotiations on the province's future. Ibrahim Rugova "is in very serious condition" due to an unspecified illness, a diplomat familiar with the situation told Reuters. Rugova, an ethnic Albanian, has no obvious successor. He has been at the head of Albanian demands for independence from Serbia, which would be the subject of the negotiations, probably next month.

Apparently dealing a fatal blow to impeachment efforts against Philippines President Gloria Arroyo, the House Justice Committee voted down all three articles of complaint against her. The move leaves opponents with only the slim hope of obtaining enough signatures to refer their case to the Senate for trial. Hundreds of leftists clashed with police after the vote, and 11 people were arrested. But there were no other immediate signs of the "people power" demonstrations in the streets of Manila that have toppled other unpopular leaders.

One-third of the coal mines in China were ordered to suspend operations by year's end in a government-imposed safety crackdown. Those not meeting higher standards won't be permitted to reopen, reports said. It wasn't clear how many people would lose jobs because of the order. Fires, explosions, flooding, and other accidents killed more than 5,000 miners in China last year, and this year's total already was 33 percent above that by the end of June.

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