For the first time in 12 years, the Stars and Stripes was raised (above) over the US Embassy in Afghanistan as special envoy James Dobbins told invited guests in a small ceremony that "diplomatic, economic, and political engagement" between the two countries was resuming. In the Tora Bora region, meanwhile, two weeks of fighting appeared at an end, with tribal commanders parading 19 captured Al Qaeda loyalists before the news media. But there was no word on the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, although explosions could be heard near the border with Pakistan, a possible indication that other fleeing Al Qaeda fighters were being bombed by US warplanes. (Stories, pages 1, 2, 6, 7; editorial page 8.)

Yasser Arafat's appeals for a new cease-fire and an end to suicide attacks and all other "terrorist activity" against Israelis were rejected immediately by three Palestinian militant organizations. A spokesman for Islamic Jihad, one of the three, said there was "no justification" for the appeals, no matter how heavy the pressure exerted on Arafat by the US and European leaders. For their part, senior Israelis said the Palestinian Authority president appeared serious but they'd wait to judge the "implementation of his declarations." Within hours, however, suspected Palestinian gunmen ambushed a car carrying a Jewish settler near Ramallah in the West Bank. His condition was not immediately known.

Controversial President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his family escaped harm in an apparent coup attempt in Haiti. Reports said a shootout erupted before dawn yesterday between attackers and security guards at the National Palace in Port-au-Prince. At least two guards and two civilian passers-by died; six others were wounded. Seven unidentified attackers were captured. As word of the incident spread, angry Aristide supporters rallied and set fire to the headquarters of two opposition political movements. Expectations of a possible coup have grown in recent days because of rising tensions between Aristide's Lavalas Family Party and the opposition.

With his Socialist Party battered at the polls in Sunday's local elections, Portugal's Prime Minister, Antonio Guterres, was to offer his resignation, likely setting up a new trip to the polls early next year to decide who controls parliament. Guterres and the Socialists have governed since 1995, but are widely perceived as mismanaging the economy and sensitive social issues as well as failing to deliver on campaign promises.

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