Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak rejected a proposal that he stage a Middle East Peace Summit, arguing that Israel should first stop threatening Palestinians and Arabs. The Clinton administration had worked to organize a meeting in Egypt, but both Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak have also set preconditions before agreeing to attend. The two leaders met separately with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who later traveled to Lebanon to try to broker the release of three Israeli soldiers captured by the militant Islamic group Hizbullah.
A key ally of former Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic appeared in line to assume control of the 100,000-man Serbian police force. Word that the vital post was going to Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Marjan-ovic came as senior military officials warned new President Vojislav Kostunica against removing top officers from the nation's armed forces. Pro-Milosevic officials earlier walked out on discussions with Kostunica over the formation of a transitional government before a new round of elections in Serbia.
A gambling scandal threatened to engulf Philippines President Joseph Estrada in a major political crisis after the nation's leading clergyman urged him to resign. Jaime Cardinal Sin, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila, said Estrada "has lost the moral ascendancy to govern." Estrada rejected the call. He is alleged to have accepted $8.7 million in payoffs from illegal gambling syndicates, and opposition legislators said they will try to impeach him.
With 80 percent of the vote counted, the ruling party of Sri Lanka appeared likely to hold onto power after Tuesday's national election. Reports said President Chandrika Kumara-tunga's People's Alliance had won at least 70 seats of the 113 needed in Parliament to form a new government, to 58 for its closest rival. Meanwhile, an independent monitoring group called the vote "significantly marred" by fraud and violence, with seven more deaths on election day on top of 71 in five weeks of campaigning beforehand. Final results will not be released until today, elections officials said.
Extreme-right crime related to the neo-Nazi movement almost doubled in August, the German government reported. The admission was seen as bolstering calls to ban the far-right National Democratic Party. Authorities said they registered 1,112 extremist crimes in August, compared to previous monthly averages of 668. Crimes against foreigners and anti-Semitic offenses, including vandalism at synagogues and cemeteries, also rose dramatically.
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