Armed with a new agreement on UN weapons inspections, Iraq was predicting that American efforts to wring a tough resolution out of the Security Council would fail. Senior Iraqis also accused the US of attempting to delay the resumption of inspections. Russia and France, with seats on the Security Council and the ability to veto any attempted new US-backed resolution, welcomed the "important clarifications" in the inspection deal reached Tuesday in Vienna.

The status of promised reforms in the Palestinian leadership was uncertain after Yasser Arafat's Fatah organization dropped the idea of prodding him to give up some of his powers to a prime minister. The move came one day after Arafat won a three-week delay of his deadline for presenting a new slate of proposed cabinet ministers to the Palestinian Legislative Council, or parliament.

Eleven more people were killed by suspected Muslim militants in a new wave of violence in disputed Kashmir. Their deaths brought the casualties in the days bracketing Round Three of the state's crucial parliamentary elections to 32 deaths, with dozens more hurt as the radicals try to disrupt the voting. For the second day in a row, the violence included the bombing of a bus, this one carrying Hindu pilgrims. Meanwhile, in Gujarat state, police had to use tear gas to break up a brawl between Muslims and Hindus that injured at least 15 people.

Thousands of angry people staged pro- and antigovernment demonstrations in Ivory Coast's two major cities as the insurgency by dissident Army troops dragged on. In Bouaké, which has been in dissident hands for two weeks, the protesters rallied in support of the mutineers and complained about the cutoff of water, electricity, and cellphone service by President Laurent Gbagbo's administration. But in Abidjan, the cultural capital, a larger-than-expected turnout for a march organized by Gbagbo's political party proclaimed impatience that the mutiny had yet to be put down.

An American soldier was one of two people killed when a bomb exploded outside a bar in an area of the Philippines where Muslim rebels linked to Al Qaeda operate. Sixteen others, among them Americans, were hurt. The Americans were part of a team left behind after a joint mission with Filipino troops against the Abu Sayyaf group ended last summer. The group is known for setting off bombs, and its leader last week ordered new attacks on "enemies both foreign and local."

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