No serious instances of fraud were found in the Oct. 15 national referendum on Iraq's proposed constitution, the Independent Electoral Commission said. But it gave no date for releasing the final vote totals, although some of its members have said privately that they believe the charter has been ratified. Against that backdrop, at least 20 more Iraqis died in terrorist bombings Sunday, among them the entire family of a police colonel.Skip to next paragraph
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No threat was issued against former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri before his assassination last February, a senior Syrian official insisted. Deputy Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said a tape-recorded conversation between them was being misinterpreted and that they only discussed the latter's complaint that he was being targeted by "security services" and that Lebanon no longer would be "ruled from Syria." The long-awaited report of a special UN investigation into Hariri's murder said it could not have been carried out without the complicity of intelligence agencies from both countries. Appearing together on a BBC broadcast Sunday, Secretary of State Condo-leezza Rice and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw called the UN report "very serious" and said it pointed to a Syrian coverup of the crime.
A powerful new aftershock struck the already earthquake-devastated region of Pakistan Sunday, although there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage. Meanwhile, Pakis-tan and India appeared ready to let survivors cross the Line of Control in disputed Kashmir to carry relief supplies and reach aid camps - a move that analysts took as a sign of mounting trust between the nuclear rivals.
New cases of bird flu were confirmed in Croatia, Sweden, Britain, and Colombia , and the administrative arm of the European Union said it would decide by Tuesday whether to ban the import of live birds from anywhere in the world. Tests were being conducted in those countries to determine whether the infected birds had the strain of virus that is blamed for more than 60 human deaths.
Death threats made against the female chief of Liberia's Elections Commission were overshadowing the campaigns of the two candidates who will face each other in runoff balloting Nov. 8. No reason was cited for the threats against Frances Johnson-Morris, but they stood in contrast to the first round of voting Oct. 11, which was violence-free, "fair and transparent," an official of the UN mission in Liberia said. Pro soccer star George Weah and ex-Finance Minister Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf led the field of five candidates, with 29 percent and 20 percent of the votes, respectively.
A commercial jet crashed shortly after takeoff from Nigeria's largest city Sunday, and authorities said there were no signs that any of the 117 people aboard had survived. The Bellview Airlines plane was on a domestic flight from Lagos to the capital, Abuja, when it went down.