With the UN Security Council preparing to vote on a resolution insisting that Israel ensure Yasser Arafat's safety, the Israeli government appeared to be softening its position on the Palestinian leader. Contradicting remarks over the weekend by Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that killing Arafat is an option under consideration, the Foreign Ministry Monday said such an action "is not the official policy ... [and] we don't speak about it today." Israel's ambassador to the UN said his government expects the US to abstain from voting on the resolution, which would protect Arafat from being deported.
Claiming victory despite their failure to disrupt the World Trade Organization meeting in Cancún, Mexico, antiglobalization protesters celebrated its collapse Sunday. Delegates from 148 rich and poor countries could not agree on proposed reforms to the policy of paying subsidies to farmers or on new rules to cut the red tape that limits cross-border commerce. Speaking for other developing nations, a Jamaican representative complained that the US, European Union states, and other wealthy nations "were not generous enough." US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, however, said: "A number of countries just thought it was a freebie."
By a 56 percent to 42 percent margin, voters in Sweden became the latest to reject a single currency for European Union members. The vote Sunday means Sweden will keep the kroner but will be denied a say in EU decisionmaking, senior officials of the bloc said. Analysts said the rejection was influenced by voter concerns that adopting the euro would cause price increases and cut funding for Sweden's cradle-to-grave welfare system. Voters in Denmark rejected the euro three years ago. Meanwhile, in neighboring Estonia a referendum on joining the EU won with 67 percent of the vote.
At least 13 people were hurt in Haiti's No. 2 city as opposition supporters staged their second mass protest in less than a month against the government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Reports said more than 4,000 demonstrators in Cap-Haitien ignored clouds of tear gas and exchanged hails of rocks and bottles with Aristide loyalists. Police said they had OK'd demonstrations by both groups, but expected the Aristide opponents to march earlier than they did.
More than $1 billion in disaster relief was being made available by the government as South Korea struggled to recover from typhoon Maemi. With 135-m.p.h. winds, the most powerful storm in the country's history hit during a holiday Friday, killing 91 people; 26 others remained unaccounted for Monday. The loss in personal property to date is estimated at $1.16 billion, and economists warned that that may cause the South, which is mired in recession, to fail to meet its 3.1 percent growth target for the year.