World

The leaders of India and Pakistan held a frank phone conversation about last weekend's bombings in New Delhi that killed 59 people. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf offered his condolences and called the blasts "a dastardly terrorist act." But Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told him that investigators have found indications of an "external" link to the bombings, appearing to go further than any other Indian officials to date in assigning blame. He reminded Musharraf of his pledge to fight terrorism.

By unanimous vote, the UN Security Council demanded that Syria's government cooperate fully with the ongoing investigation into the murder last February of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The resolution warns of possible "further action" if the demand isn't met. But to avoid a veto by Russia and China, the cosponsors - the US, Britain, and France - had to drop language threatening sanctions against Syria. The Syrians asked for an emergency summit of the full 22-member Arab League to rally support. But reports said only a smaller gathering appeared likely.

The Palestinian Authority must "wage a real war on terror" before there can be a resumption of peace efforts with Israel, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told parliament in his state of the nation address. He said Israel remains committed to the US-backed "road map" to a peaceful Middle East, but that his Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas, must disarm radical organizations and prevent attacks against Israel as "the only way to get back on the route of negotiations." To date, Abbas has only urged the militants not to carry their weapons in public.

Eighty-two thousand more chickens were to be slaughtered by public health officials in Japan after signs of the bird flu virus were found on a farm not far from Tokyo. Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, authorities warned they would cull all chickens in the territory and could close its 2,260 poultry farms if tests confirm that birds on two of them are infected. At an international conference on the matter in Australia, representatives from Vietnam and Cambodia appealed for technical and financial help on grounds that their governments lack the resources to cope with the problem alone.

The first member of the Free Aceh Movement's leadership returned to the volatile Indonesian province from 25 years in exile, a move seen as showing that its peace process has passed the point of no return. Bakhtiar Abdullah said he wants to help oversee the peace accord that's aimed at giving the Acehnese wide-ranging autonomy. Under the deal, separatist rebels have been surrendering their weapons as the Indonesian government withdraws its troops. Other Free Aceh leaders have yet to return, citing concerns for their safety.

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