Advanced Patriot antimissile missiles will be deployed by the US at its bases in Japan, a leading newspaper reported Monday, amid concerns that North Korea still planned the test-firing of its Taepodong 2 long-range ballistic weapon. Citing Japanese defense sources, Tokyo's Yomiuri Shimbun said as many as four Patriot interceptor batteries would be deployed on Okinawa by year's end. At the same time, the chief adviser on security to South Korea's president warned that if the North launched the Taepodong 2, "[My] government will take measures that will match the seriousness of that." South Korea is a major supplier of vital food and other aid to the impoverished North.
Security measures that were relaxed after the 2002 cease-fire in Sri Lanka will be reimposed, the Army said Monday after a suspected Tamil terrorist bomber assassinated its third-ranking general and killed three other people by ramming their motorcade with his motorcycle. Among the measures, the Army announced, would be roadblocks, checkpoints, and searches of all goods being transported from Tamil areas of the island. The attack, outside Colombo, the capital, was the second against a senior commander in three months. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) denied responsibility and suggested that it might have been "an inside job." But LTTE leaders have twice in recent days vowed to use suicide bombers if they perceived that civil war had resumed in earnest.
Moving quickly to assert his new authority, Somalia's Council of Islamic Courts chief said Monday "any government we agree on" would be based on the Koran and the teachings of the prophet Mohammad. Sheikh Hassan Dahir Awyes is on the US list of most-wanted terrorists for his alleged ties to Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. He spoke as the Islamists who seized Mogadishu, the capital, earlier this month said they'd execute five rapists by stoning. They also discouraged celebrations of Somalia's 46th anniversary of independence from Britain as "un-Islamic."
Wild celebrations erupted in the streets of East Timor's capital as word spread that Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri had resigned after all. There was no announcement on who'd succeed him, but President Xanana Gusmao is expected to meet today with advisers on the matter. Defense and Interior Minister Jose Ramos-Horta, who resigned over the weekend, said he didn't want the post but would accept it "if persuaded by all relevant parties." Alkatiri won a vote of confidence from elders of the ruling Fretilin Party Sunday and said he'd stay in office despite a demand by Gusmao that he quit. But less than 24 hours later he told a news conference that he accepted a share of responsibility for the government's worst political crisis to date and was stepping down to prevent Gusmao's own resignation.
Political opponents of embattled Philippines President Gloria Arroyo filed new articles of impeachment against her Monday – their earliest opportunity after a limit on doing so expired. The Constitution allows one such filing per year, and a similar effort failed last September when it fell 28 votes short of passage in the lower house of Congress. Analysts said they expect the latest attempt, based on complaints of corruption and human rights abuses, to be unsuccessful also.
Despite vote-counting that was still in its early stages, a broadcast report said Italians had rejected sweeping changes to their Constitution. Sky TV put the projected margin at 55 percent to 45 percent. The reforms, proposed by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, would have shrunk the size of parliament and given the head of government sole authority to fire cabinet members and to dissolve the legislature – powers currently held by the president. New Prime Minister Romano Prodi, who succeeded Berlusconi last month, opposed the reforms.