With control of the cities of Mazar-e Sharif and Herat apparently secured, Afghanistan's Northern Alliance drew to within nine miles of the capital, Kabul, and were awaiting further orders from their commanders, reports said. A journalist in Kabul said he saw a convoy of Taliban defenders fleeing the city under cover of darkness and that key government offices were dark and seemingly unguarded. Pakistani Muslims who'd gone to Afghanistan to fight with the Taliban also were seen leaving, saying they'd been sent home. (Story, page 1.)

Celebrations were under way in both China and Taiwan after both were welcomed into the World Trade Organization - a move that analysts said would increase economic integration between them. In a nod to their deep political sensitivities, however, their memberships were ratified separately, and Taiwan will formally enter as a "separate customs territory." China lobbied unsuccessfully for assurances that curbs be placed on Taiwanese representation and for a ban on WTO ministerial meetings in Taiwan. Above, a couple in Beijing pose in front of a billboard on WTO membership. (Related story, page 1; related editorial, page 10.)

At least three new faces were expected to be added to the cabinet of Australian Prime Minister John Howard after his emphatic reelection victory in Saturday's national election. With most of the vote counted, Howard's conservative Liberal-National Party coalition also appeared likely to pick up 10 additional seats in Parliament, giving him a stronger hand in his tough stand against illegal immigration, the key issue in the election. In conceding defeat, opposition Labor Party leader Kim Beazley announced he would quit his post.

A runoff election next Sunday appeared necessary to settle Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov's bid for a new term. Stoyanov and former communist leader Georgui Parvanov were both at 35 percent of the vote following Sunday's first round in an election marred by a disappointingly small turnout of less than 40 percent.

Drains sealed by the government to prevent them from being used as hiding places by Islamic militants in Algeria were blamed for flooding that caused at least 575 deaths, reports said. Another 316 people were hurt in the swirling waters that engulfed a working-class district in Algiers, the capital. The nation was pounded over the weekend by 36 hours of torrential rain and high wind.

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