In an apparent major concession, North Korea agreed with its five negotiating partners that the peninsula it shares with rival South Korea should be nuclear-free. News agencies covering the three-day talks in Beijing quoted a Russian participant as saying the North does not want to own nuclear weapons and that there was "practically" an agreement that the sides should meet again in October. Japan's representative disputed that report, however, and said "there is still very much difference" on the issues being discussed.

US commanders in Iraq need better intelligence on which to act as well as more cooperation from the civilian population, but not more American troops, their leader told a news conference. Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez said he'd welcome additional troops from other countries, but as a show of international commitment to the pacification and rebuilding of the war-torn country. He also announced that despite acts of sabotage to pipelines, Iraq's crude oil production has risen to 1.7 million barrels a day - compared to 2.8 million before combat began in March.

A calm and confident-looking British Prime Minister Tony Blair denied that his government had "sexed up" intelligence on Iraq's weapons program. But if a BBC report that it had were true, he told a special judicial inquiry, "I would have had to resign." Blair said he had no reason to doubt intelligence reports of Iraq's capabilities, which, according to the BBC, a weapons expert working for the government claimed had been exaggerated. The expert, David Kelly, committed suicide after his identity was revealed. Britain's involvement in the Iraq war was widely unpopular at home, and the resulting furor has been the deepest crisis of Blair's administration.

For the first time, a rocket fired by Hamas landed in a major Israeli city. Reports said the radical movement was prepared to launch additional rockets from a site in the Gaza Strip, but was interrupted by Palestinian Authority police before it could do so. No casualties or property damage resulted from the attack, which targeted Ashkelon, six miles from the Gaza Strip. But an aide to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Israel "cannot tolerate the use of rockets" against its cities and will retaliate for the strike.

An Army colonel was shot to death in his own home in Nepal's capital, Kathmandu, and another officer was critically wounded in a similar attack, both of them blamed on communist rebels. The violence was the first since the rebels declared an end to their seven-month truce and pulled out of peace negotiations with the government. Within hours, the government redesignated the rebels and their support organizations as terrorists, a move that gives security forces special search and detention powers.

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