World

As a result of the oil-for-food scandal in Iraq, the UN urgently needs "stronger executive leadership," a report to be released Wednesday is expected to say. It was not clear whether the report would implicate Secretary- General Kofi Annan directly in the scandal. But the independent inquiry headed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, which has spent the past year probing the $64 billion program, found that:

• there were "serious instances of illicit, unethical, and corrupt behavior" among senior UN officials as well as by those in the field;

• the UN was ill-equipped to handle a program of such magnitude;

• "an adequate framework of controls and auditing was absent."

US Marine jets attacked two bridges in western Iraq near the Syrian border in a new campaign to stop the flow of foreign terrorists and weapons into Baghdad. The bridges across the Euphrates River were part of an infiltration route, along with nearby towns over which Al Qaeda reportedly had taken control after residents fled fighting between tribes supporting and opposing the terrorists. Meanwhile, printing is expected to begin Thursday of 5 million copies of the proposed Iraqi constitution for voters to consider as they go to the polls next month for a referendum on accepting it. A senior member of parliament said last-minute negotiations on the text resulted in no changes that might appease Sunni rejectionists.

Only an estimated 10,000 people turned out for a protest against Philippines President Gloria Arroyo in the streets of Manila after the House of Representatives voted to uphold its Justice Committee's decision last week rejecting all impeachment complaints against her. The 158-to-51 tally appeared to contradict claims by her opponents that they lacked only a few votes to send the case directly to the Senate for trial. The rejection also leaves only so-called "people power" demonstrations in Manila to try force Arroyo's ouster, but the size of Tuesday's protest suggested that public reaction to the election-rigging accusations against her is not sufficient for that outcome. In a statement, she called the House vote "a glorious day in history," but analysts said it probably will result in no early reconciliation with her political opponents.

Thirty-two people died and 60 others were hurt in a stampede for the only exit of a theater in Beni Suef, Egypt, after an actor knocked over a lighted candle on a set filled with billowing paper. Security officials said many of the injured were in critical condition. The town, 60 miles south of Cairo, was in the middle of a nine-day cultural festival featuring performances by troupes from around the nation.

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