World

Senior officials in Israel's government said Monday that control of most Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem – one of the most contentious issues if there is to be a final peace deal – should be transferred to the Palestinian Authority. But the concession – which came as negotiating teams for both sides were preparing a joint approach to next month's US-sponsored peace conference – elicited no comment from Palestinian leaders. Reports said the Israeli concession would not include the neighborhoods most in dispute, particularly Jerusalem's Old City, site of the Temple Mount and Islam's Al Aqsa Mosque.

Shouting, "Dictator!" student opponents of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad protested his appearance Monday at Tehran University, clashing with his supporters and the Basij religious militiawhen they were refused admission to the hall where he was speaking. Reports said more than 100 students tried to continue their protest off campus but were stopped at the gates by police. Ahmadinejad has said he supports constructive opposition, but liberal students and professors argue that his government stifles dissent. The incident was the second of its type at the school in less than a year.

Two more soldiers died Monday along Turkey's border with Iraq in roadside bombings blamed on Kurdish separatists. The fatalities were the 14th and 15th in two days in the worst rebel attacks in months. In retaliation, Turkish forces shelled the border to try to keep the attackers from retreating into Iraq. The two governments signed a counterterrorism pact last month, but Iraq has refused demands that Turkey's forces be allowed to cross the border in pursuit of the rebels. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called his cabinet into special session and said Turkey's response would "continue in a different manner."

Despite opinion polls suggesting an overwhelming defeat, voters in Costa Rica appear to have approved membership for their nation in the Central American Free Trade Agreement. But opponents refused to concede because the margin of victory was projected to be only about 3 percent, triggering a manual recount. Costa Rica is the only one of six countries that hasn't ratified the agreement. Above, supporters of the "yes" vote cheer the results in San José, the capital.

Food, medicines, and thousands of dollars in cash have been donated by Burma's ruling junta to Buddhist monasteries in Rangoon, state news agencies reported Monday. Analysts said the gesture appeared to be an attempt at reconciliation after the violent crackdown against antigovernment protests led by monks. But the junta also scolded participants and said their demands can be met only via its seven-step "road map to democracy." Only Step 1 – drawing guidelines for a new constitution – has been completed so far.

One of impressionist painter Claude Monet's masterpieces can be repaired, French experts said, after vandals broke into the Orsay Museum in Paris early Sunday and punched a hole in it. Four or five people who may have been attending an all-night festival on the Left Bank tried other doors before finding one they could force open, officials said. An alarm sounded, and the intruders fled, but not before attacking "Le Pont d'Argenteuil," which is considered priceless. The act was at least the third this year in which notable artworks in France have been damaged.

In a rare accident report, Cuba's state-run news media acknowledged a collision between a packed bus and a train at a grade crossing 500 miles east of Havana Saturday, calling it the worst in years. Details were sketchy, but at least 28 people were killed and 73 others were injured, many of them critically, the reports said.

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