Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon vowed to come up with an alternative withdrawal strategy for the Gaza Strip after members of his own party defeated the original plan Sunday. He said he respects the outcome, which Likud members rejected by a 60 percent to 40 percent margin in a nonbinding referendum that apparently was affected by a killing of five Gaza settlers by Palestinian gunmen. But he argued that withdrawal is the best way to achieve security for Israelis in the absence of a peace treaty with Palestinians. He also refused to resign.
Suspected Muslim terrorists exploded a remote-controlled bomb in Pakistan, killing or wounding 13 Chinese engineers, their driver, and a security guard en route to one of the nation's largest construction projects - the expansion of a shipping port. Meanwhile, in Turkey, police arrested 25 suspected members of a group linked to Al Qaeda who were believed to be planning a bomb attack at next month's NATO summit in Istanbul - a meeting President Bush is expected to attend.
In fallout from an angry speech by Cuban dictator Fidel Castro on May Day, Mexico recalled its ambassador from Havana and announced it will expel his counterpart. The government of Peru also withdrew its ambassador to Cuba. Without offering details, senior Mexican officials said the moves were made because the Cubans had been involved in matters incompatible with their diplomatic status. Castro blasted Mexico for supporting a UN vote against Cuba's human rights record. He also ridiculed Peru's "wretchedness and dependency" because of "neoliberal economic policies."
A humanitarian crisis appeared to be building in the rebellious province of Adzharia after its leader ordered the bridges connecting it with the former Soviet republic of Georgia destroyed. The move leaves Adzharia isolated, and reports said prices of goods doubled within hours as worried consumers sought to stock up. Aslan Abashidze, the leader, and new Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili are enemies, and the Georgian Foreign Ministry said the former's action Sunday appeared aimed at prolonging his political survival by attempting to provoke a military intervention.
As expected, US-educated Martin Torrijos won the presidency of Panama in Sunday's election, the first since his country assumed control of the vital canal zone in 1999. Torrijos, a son of the late dictator Omar Torrijos, succeeds to the office he sought - and lost - that same year. Among his first challenges will be organizing a national referendum on widening the canal to accommodate the new generation of cargo and cruise ships, a project estimated to cost as much as $10 billion.