Confusion reigned in the ranks of the Palestinian Authority amid reports that Yasser Arafat was trying to fire security chief Jibril Rajoub and police commander Ghazi al-Jabali. Both were denying they'd received formal notifications, although Jenin Gov. Zuheir Manasrah told journalists he'd been offered Rajoub's job and had accepted it. Aides to al-Jabali said he was preparing to challenge Arafat for the Palestinian presidency in elections scheduled for January.

Investigators at one of the sites in Afghanistan where civilians reportedly were killed in an attack by US warplanes found traces of damage but no casualties or graves. The probe, which was continuing, came amid mounting anger in the war-torn country, with senior officials of its new government demanding explanations and calling the incident "by no means justifiable."

No breakthrough appeared evident after Day 1 of talks between UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Iraq's Foreign Minister on an end to sanctions and the return of weapons inspectors. Annan and Naji Sabri said they were "satisfied" with the discussions. But Sabri was insisting that US threats to topple the regime of President Saddam Hussein be addressed first, along with 19 other questions Iraq wants answered before agreeing to the return of inspectors.

Not even a call for a presidential election six months early could prevent another protest march in Argentina's capital, as demonstrators demanded revenge for two men killed by police in a street protest last week. But there were no reports of new violence or arrests. Political parties were searching for candidates to fill the post now occupied by caretaker Eduardo Duhalde, who has been unable to ease growing public anger over four years of recession that have pushed half of all Argentines below the poverty line. In a speech to the nation late Tuesday, Duhalde said the election would be held next March.

Blunt talk was expected at a meeting in Northern Ireland between leaders of the main political parties and the prime ministers of Britain and the Irish republic as all sides sought to prop up the province's wobbling peace process. Protestant leaders warned that more diplomatic pressure must be imposed on Sinn Fein, the political ally of the Irish Republican Army, for disarmament. Lack of progress on weapons surrender has caused widespread unease and months of street violence.

The imposition of a state of emergency appeared likely in the volatile province of Aceh, as Indonesia's government for the first time called the Muslim separatist movement "terrorists." Reports said the government also would evaluate over the next three weeks whether to declare martial law. The Free Aceh Movement is blamed for violence that has caused more than 600 deaths this year.

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