A terrorist in Baghdad exploded a car bomb outside an Iraqi Army recruitment center, the second such attack in two days. Early reports put the number of deaths among volunteers waiting outside at 46. Tuesday's attack, on a police station in a distant southern suburb of Baghdad, killed 53. The Army and police are central to the Bush administration's plan to turn over most of the responsibility for their own security to Iraqis by July 1, if possible. (Story, page 1; opinion, page 9.)
Americans living or traveling in Haiti were urged by the State Department to leave for their own safety, despite reports that calm had returned to much of the nation after six days of political violence. The Coast Guard also was ordered to watch for a new wave of Haitians attempting to flee to the US to escape the situation. Meanwhile, armed supporters of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide manned flaming barricades in Cap-Haitien, the second-largest city, again Wednesday to keep antigovernment protesters at bay. Above, street vendors wait for customers outside a burned-out Cap-Haitien store.
Another cut in crude oil production was agreed to by members of OPEC, a move that analysts said almost certainly will cost consumers more at the gas pump and to heat their homes for the rest of the winter. Meeting in Algeria's capital Tuesday, cartel delegates decided another reduction in output was needed to keep crude prices stable when warmer weather in major importing countries erodes demand. They chose to end excess extraction of crude and to trim each member's output quota, effective April 1 - measures that could take 2.5 million barrels a day off the market. Last September, OPEC announced a 900,000-barrel-a-day cut.
Deepening the political tensions in Sri Lanka, President Chandrika Kumaratunga fired 39 lower-ranking cabinet ministers and ordered them to surrender all state-owned property in their possession. Analysts said the announcement was intended to further damage the reelection prospects of her bitter rival, Prime Minister Ranil Wickreme-singhe, by, among other things, reducing his access to government facilities. Last weekend, Kumaratunga dissolved Parliament and scheduled a national election for April 2, three years early. She and Wickremesinghe are in a stalemate over his efforts to forge a lasting peace with the island's Tamil separatist rebels.