A "30- or 40-minute" private discussion between the US and North Korean delegates appeared to be the highlight of the opening round of talks on the latter government's nuclear program. But there were conflicting reports on progress in the six-sided meeting in Beijing. Chinese officials described Day 1 as "very successful." But Japan's Kyodo news agency said the US had rejected North Korea's demand for a bilateral nonaggression treaty. (Related story, page 6; editorial, page 8.)

Yasser Arafat thrust himself back into the center of confrontations between Palestinians and Israel, asking Hamas and other radical groups to reinstate the truce they renounced last week. A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Sharon called the gesture meaningless. Meanwhile, signs emerged that Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, who is struggling with Arafat for power, might not survive a vote of confidence in his administration by the Palestinian Legislative Council.

A powerful explosive regularly used by Muslim militants almost certainly was the key element in two terrorist explosions Monday in Bombay, police said. They identified it as RDX, two pounds of which are enough to destroy a full-size commercial jet. More victims of the attacks died Wednesday, bringing the count to 51. India cited two pro-Pakistan Muslim militant groups as responsible for the blasts. But Pakistan demanded "concrete proof" that it was in any way involved and urged the New Delhi government not to let the acts derail the latest bilateral peace efforts. Above, Indians march through Bombay to protest the violence.

The last foreign staffer of a major humanitarian aid agency in Iraq left the country because "the risk level was unacceptable to us." Simon Springett, a coordinator for Oxfam, said he'd talked with other aid agencies that also were reviewing the wisdom of continuing to try to operate in the wake of last week's terrorist bombing of UN headquarters in Baghdad. Meanwhile, the first of 130,000 posters advertising a $25 million reward for information leading to the arrest - or confirmation of the death - of Saddam Hussein went up in the capital. (Stories, pages 1, 2.)

Communist rebels declared an end to their seven-month truce with the government of Nepal and pulled out of peace negotiations. The move came after three fruitless rounds of talks. In response, Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa put government forces on high alert. In 2001, after a similar collapse of talks, the rebels targeted Army outposts and police stations in a series of deadly attacks.

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