Senior Palestinians confirmed that their leader, Yasser Arafat, will be a candidate for reelection in elections set for January and were counting on international opposition to reject President Bush's call for a regime change. They said his call was "insulting" and "contradicts the principles of democracy claimed by the US." And they scorned Bush's threat to cease "putting money into a society which is not transparent," saying the US provides only indirect financial aid to Palestinian development projects. (Story, page 8.)
Political and editorial pressure was being heaped on Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf after a military raid on an Al Qaeda hideout early Wednesday that cost the lives of five soldiers. They were the first reported Pakistani combat casualties in Musharraf's widely unpopular commitment to help the US in its counterterrorism war. (Story, page 1.)
A new confrontation between police and antigovernment protesters was shaping up in Argentina as the Monitor went to press. Union organizers called a nationwide strike to protest the manner in which security forces dealt with a protest Wednesday in Buenos Aires, in which two demonstrators were shot to death, at least 90 others were hurt, and 160 were arrested (one of them above). Similar protests were held in seven other provinces. The government of embattled President Eduardo Duhalde warned that police would not allow bridges or highways to be blocked.
Despite illness and injuries restricting his mobility, Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit addressed parliament for the first time in almost two months. He first hinted that the nation should prepare for an early election to succeed his coalition government, but then backtracked, saying a vote before April 2004 "is out of the question." Confronting calls from within his own party to step down, Ecevit underwent a medical examination Wednesday and pledged to return to work within three weeks.
One-party communist rule was enshrined formally in Cuba's Constitution, to outlast the eventual passing of Fidel Castro and his brother/designated successor, Raul. It followed a petition drive at Fidel Castro's behest earlier this month to change the constitutional designation from "inalienable" to "irrevocable." That, in turn, followed two speeches in May by Bush urging political change in Cuba.