For the first time, the government of Russia announced it will veto the proposed UN Security Council timetable for Iraqi disarmament - at least in its present form. That would make futile US efforts to line up at least nine "yes" votes for passage of the resolution it cosponsors with Britain and Spain. But a senior British official said his government would "listen" to the ideas of other nations on the Council for an amended deadline for Iraq to disarm rather than next Monday as currently demanded.

By a landslide vote, ruling party leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan won a seat in Turkey's parliament and appeared to be within days of assuming the prime ministership as well. His colleague, Abdullah Gul, who has held the job since their Justice and Development Party won last November's election, said he'd resign once Erdogan is sworn in. But Erdogan told interviewers Turkey needs more assurances from the US on the future of Iraq before he'll ask parliament to reconsider a critical proposal to base American troops on Turkish soil.

As expected, North Korea test-fired a cruise missile designed to cripple ships into the Sea of Japan in what analysts called a new attempt at brinksmanship with the US. The US played down the significance of the launch since it did not involve a ballistic missile. South Korean officials said they were trying to determine whether the latest test was successful, since one late last month appeared to explode short of its landing zone.

By a 64-to-3 vote, the Palestinian Legislative Council approved the new post of prime minister, for which Yasser Arafat formally has nominated his deputy. But although the move was billed as a reform called for by the US and Israeli governments, a senior Palestinian official told journalists that the only powers Arafat would yield to Mahmoud Abbas concern internal affairs. Arafat, the official said, would not give up control over security or relations with Israel.

Based on early returns and exit polls, the political party that ruled Mexico for 71 straight years appeared set to win key offices in the nation's largest state. In the State of Mexico, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) was leading President Vicente Fox's National Action Party in contests for 125 mayorships and 45 seats in the legislature. A PRI victory, analysts said, would set the stage for July's congressional election that could mean Fox would face a majority of lawmakers hostile to his agenda.

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