Israeli and Palestinian leaders both said they welcomed a new UN resolution that affirms "a vision" of the Middle East where their respective states "live side by side within secure and recognized borders." But with special US envoy Anthony Zinni due in the region today, Palestinians said no truce would be possible without an Israeli pullout from Ramallah in the West Bank (where Palestinian gunmen, above, race to take up positions). Fighting there continued Wednesday, with at least one Israeli death. (Opinions, page 11.)
Amid international denunciations, elections officials in Zimbabwe declared President Robert Mugabe the winner in his bid for a new term. Opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai immediately rejected the announcement, calling the outcome "the biggest fraud I have ever witnessed." His Movement for Democratic Change offices in Bulawayo, the nation's No. 2 city, were surrounded by police, and the Army was on "full alert" against a backlash by Tsvangirai supporters. Only the Organization of African Unity and an observer team from neighboring South Africa described the voting as "legitimate" and "credible." (Story, page 1; editorial, page 10.)
Allied forces were chasing the remaining Al Qaeda and Taliban extremists trying to flee from the Shar-i-kot valley in eastern Afghan-istan after their positions were overrun. A US Army spokesman called the two-week-long Operation Anaconda "a great success" and said the majority of enemy casualties were ethnic Arabs, Chechens, or Pakistanis believed to form the core of Osama bin Laden's network. But similar pockets of resistance remain scattered across Afghanistan, a government officer warned. (Story, page 6.)
Hard-line leaders of the Hindu nationalist movement in India vowed to court arrest tomorrow with a march through the city that they and Muslims both consider holy. The threat was issued after the Supreme Court ruled that no prayer ceremonies could be held on the site of a razed Muslim mosque in Ayodhya, where Hindus want to begin building a temple later this month. The city was calm Wednesday but under heavy police guard, amid worries of a new round of sectarian violence.
The presidential candidate of Colombia's ruling Conservative Party dropped out of the running for the May 26 election, making it likely that an independent will win the office for the first time. Juan Camilo Restrepo hoped to succeed Andres Pastrana, whose term expires this summer. But his support in opinion polls never rose above 2 percent. It was unclear whether the party would name a successor or back independent Alvaro Uribe, an ex-governor, who has campaigned on an anti-guerrilla war theme and has more than a 2 to 1 lead in the polls over his closest rival.