Iraq's leadership pledged to submit its required declaration on banned weapons programs to the UN a day early. But a senior official said the report, which is due Sunday, "will not necessarily include a declaration of the presence of weapons of mass destruction." President Bush has warned that the document must be "credible and complete" and he said, "So far, the [signs] are not encouraging." Against that backdrop, in a western section of Baghdad, UN inspectors conducted their first search of a presidential palace used by Saddam Hussein, although they encountered initial resistance by guards at the gate. Below, news photographers, who were not allowed inside, try to observe the 1-1/2-hour inspection through the gate.

In a thinly veiled warning, Israel's National Security Council chief said last week's terrorist attacks in Kenya and future such actions open options for retaliation "that so far have been unacceptable to public opinion." Ephraim Halevy, who recently headed the Mossad secret service, told a conference on Israeli security that the Jewish state has a "range of capabilities" that should not "be exposed prematurely." Other senior Israeli officials said there were advance warnings that Al Qaeda was planning one or more attacks in Kenya, although specific details were lacking. The Bush administration also has said there is increasing reason to believe that Al Qaeda was involved in the Kenya attacks.

Confronting the threat of no additional economic aid from the US, Egypt's highest appeals court threw out the conviction of an American sociologist for his writings in support of political and economic reform in the Arab world. The seven-member panel ordered a new trial - the third in the case - for Prof. Saad Eddin Ibrahim Jan. 7. His imprisonment last July triggered an international chorus of condemnation by human rights groups and an announcement by President Bush that he'd oppose any increase in Egypt's $2 billion a year assistance from the US.

A cease-fire that is to start Dec. 30 was agreed to by the government of Burundi and another of the four factions of the nation's largest rebel movement. The truce, signed on neutral soil in neighboring Tanzania by transitional President Pierre Buyoya and a rebel representative, leaves only one of the National Liberation Forces' four factions outside the framework. The key provision of the accord calls for integrating ethnic Hutus into the Tutsi-dominated Army. More than 200,000 people have died in Burundi's nine-year civil war.

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