A woman was chosen as Iraq's acting ambassador to the US in the first diplomatic appointment by the interim Governing Council. Rend Rahim Francke, a veteran lobbyist, will reopen the mission that was closed 13 years ago during the crisis that led to the first Gulf war. But her appointment was marred by another weekend of intense violence against US soldiers, American civilian contractors, and Iraqi collaborators in rebuilding the nation as it braced for still more terrorism Monday and Tuesday timed for the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month.

A tumultuous day of political drama in the former Soviet republic of Georgia appeared to be nearing a peaceful end as embattled President Eduard Shevardnadze resigned. The development capped a weekend-long series in which Shevardnadze declared a state of emergency and fired his security council chief, but then lost the support of the military. He also indicated he was ready to meet with opposition leaders, only to have the latter say the time for such talks had passed. Shevardnadze, who had 1-1/2 years left in office, had been under relentless pressure to quit since the Nov. 2 elections for parliament that his opponents claim were rigged in favor of his political party.

The next round of six-sided talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons program will be held Dec. 17-19, the news agency of rival South Korea reported, citing a high-ranking government official. Like the inconclusive first round of discussions that also included the US, Japan, Russia, and China in August, the next set will take place in Beijing, the report said. None of the parties had offered official confirmation of the report as the Monitor went to press.

An apology to the nation by President Alejandro Toledo and his announced plan to spend $820 million in areas of society devastated by two decades of political violence failed to satisfy his critics in Peru. His actions followed the release of a nine-volume Truth and Reconciliation Commission report that found the military responsible for massive human-rights abuses as well as many of the 69,280 deaths or disappearances of people in the 1980-2000 struggle against the communist Shining Path rebel insurgency. But critics slammed Toledo for failing to offer individual reparations to the families of victims and for failing to call for trials in civilian courts of military personnel identified as having committed atrocities.

Controversial leftist President Hugo Chávez led a petition drive to beat his political enemies to the punch by seeking to recall 38 opposition members of Venezuela's National Assembly. Chávez supporters started their own recall campaign Saturday, six days before his opponents are permitted to open a signature-gathering drive of their own to force a national referendum on his rule. Last summer, the pro-Chávez elections commission threw out an earlier petition campaign by the opposition that had gathered 3 million signatures, ruling that it had been begun too soon.

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