The deadline set by Muslim captors in Iraq for decapitating a South Korean hostage was fast approaching as the Monitor went to press, with no word on his fate. Intensive diplomatic efforts to negotiate Kim Sun-il's freedom were under way. Kim, a civilian who worked as an Arabic translator, was shown repeatedly on TV newscasts begging for his life. A videotape made by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's Al Qaeda-linked group demands that South Korea not send 3,000 troops to Iraq as planned and that it withdraw those already deployed there. But the Seoul government was standing by its commitment.

More than 1 million barrels of crude oil flowed through repaired pipelines to the loading terminal at Basra in southern Iraq, after they had been sabotaged by terrorists last week. A pipeline from Iraq's northern oil fields to the port of Ceyhan in Turkey remains out of commission because of similar sabotage in May.

Three "river patrol vessels" used by Britain to help train Iraqi police were seized by naval units from neighboring Iran and their crews were under arrest and "under investigation," the Foreign Ministry in Tehran said. A ministry spokes-man said the boats had intruded in Iranian territorial waters. Britain's Defense Ministry confirmed that contact with the boats had been lost. The British and Iranian governments were in contact over the incident, diplomats said, but it was not immediately clear how it would affect bilateral relations. Britain angered the Tehran government last week by joining other countries in condemning Iran's less than complete cooperation with UN nuclear weapons inspectors.

Appearing to back down from its own announcement that all farmland would be seized in the name of the state, Zimbabwe's government said ownership of land bought "on the property market" would be honored. A clarification in the form of a letter from the foreign ministry to Zimbabwean embassies abroad said only property "acquired" from thousands of white farmers for redistribution to poor blacks would be nationalized. Land Reform Minister John Nkomo said June 8, "In the end, there shall be no such thing as private land."

Unknown assailants exploded a bomb in the midst of a crowded opposition political rally at Sylhet in northern Bangladesh, killing one person and wounding at least 60 others - many of them critically. The attack was the third of its type there since January.

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