World

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon left Israel for his meeting Tuesday at the White House with President Bush, preparing to defend his government's construction of a security fence to keep Palestinians at bay on the West Bank. In discussions Friday with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, Bush called the barricade "a problem" that makes it difficult to develop confidence between the two sides. But before Sharon's departure, his cabinet OK'd the freeing of 100 Palestinian militants "with no blood on their hands" and two West Bank checkpoints were dismantled.

"The noose is tightening" on fugitive members of Iraq's ousted regime, US commanders in Iraq said Sunday, after simultaneous raids on three farms apparently missed Saddam Hussein's new security chief - and possibly the dictator himself - by about 24 hours. About two dozen men at the farms were taken into custody but then freed.

Almost 300 disgruntled soldiers will be court-martialed for their mutiny in a Manila shopping center, Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said. The 19-hour takeover ended Sunday, with the mutineers agreeing to return to their barracks. No shots were fired, no hostages were taken, and the renegade troops said they did not seek power. The mutineers accused Arroyo's government of corruption and of colluding with rebel movements.

At least 14 more people died as mortar shells fell on residential neighborhoods of Liberia's capital, with still no sign of the arrival of international peacekeeping troops. US Ambassador John Blaney appealed to the rebels trying to oust President Charles Taylor to withdraw from Monrovia and allow food shipments and other supplies to reach needy residents. They refused.

Victory appeared all but assured for Prime Minister Hun Sen's People's Party in Cambodia, although official results were not expected until late next week because of logistical problems in collecting ballot boxes from remote areas. Sunday's voting was marred by an explosion that injured one person outside an opposition party headquarters, but hundreds of international poll monitors reported an otherwise peaceful election.

By a margin of just 61 seconds, Lance Armstrong of the US won his fifth consecutive Tour de France bicycle race. The title ties him with Spain's Miguel Indurain for the most individual success in the sport's most prestigious event. Armstrong already has announced plans to try to break their tie next year.

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