Thousands of angry protesters surrounded Israel's parliament, hoping to influence a "no" vote on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's controversial plan to evacuate the Gaza Strip. The vote had yet to be taken as the Monitor went to press, but passage was expected. Even so, there is no guarantee that the plan will be carried out; another vote must be held after each of the four phases of withdrawal.

Another aide to terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was eliminated in a US airstrike on Fallujah, a military spokesman said. The aide was not identified, but a US statement said the pounding of Fallujah has "severely degraded" the ability of Zarqawi's group to conduct attacks. But other terrorists in the city vowed to retaliate with "weapons and tactics" not seen before unless the US siege ends.

Authorities were scrambling to keep the lid on tensions in southern Thailand after revelations that at least 78 people had suffocated in police vehicles taking them to a lockup during rioting by Muslim separatists Monday. Eighty-four people now are confirmed dead as a result of the violence, and a local Islamic leader told the Associated Press, "I believe hell will break out." But Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who rushed to the scene, said: "We cannot allow [the separatists] to harass innocent people any longer. We have no choice but to use force to suppress them."

In two weeks, the US dollar no longer will be accepted in trade in Cuba, Fidel Castro announced. The move came in response to the penalizing by the US Federal Reserve of a Swiss bank for illegally transferring newly printed dollars to Cuba and other nations subject to US sanctions. It means that Cubans and visitors to the island will have to use the equivalent in pesos to what they'd spend in dollars for all purchases. It also affects residents who rely on the estimated $1 billion a year sent home by relatives or friends in the US. Such remittances will have to be converted to other currencies as of Nov. 8.

Frigid temperatures and rain drove thousands more Japanese to earthquake shelters amid warnings that another major temblor could strike their battered region any day. Last Saturday's magnitude 6.8 quake is blamed for 31 deaths, and more than 80,000 households still were without electricity or running water Tuesday.

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