By secret ballot, the parliament of Ukraine voted no confidence in the government of President-designate Viktor Yanukovich - in effect, firing it. But the move, while a key victory for opposition leader Viktor Yuschenko, does not mean he can claim victory in their disputed Nov. 21 runoff election. The Supreme Court has yet to decide whether the runoff was rigged, the first step in setting up a repeat vote or organizing a completely new election, a process that could take months.

In an about-face, popular Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti decided to run for president as Yasser Arafat's successor, supporters said. Barghouti, serving a life sentence in Israel for his role in terrorist attacks against Jews, had said he wouldn't be a candidate. He is seen as a serious challenger to the presumed front-runner, Mahmoud Abbas. Meanwhile, a key partner in Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's coalition appeared ready to withhold its support in parliament for a vote on his proposed 2005 budget, a move that threatened to collapse his government.

Newly elected President Boris Tadic of Serbia escaped an apparent assassination attempt when an unidentified motorist repeatedly tried to crash into his limousine in Belgrade, the capital, late Tuesday. Tadic's guards cut off the other driver each time, and he fled. Tadich, who is openly pro-Western, complained of a slow police response to the incident and called for an investigation. Pro-Western Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic was assassinated by a sniper in Belgrade last year.

The Vatican and critics in the US reacted with outrage to revelations from the Netherlands that a leading hospital already was carrying out "mercy killings" of severely ill or deformed newborns even as it sought an OK from the Health Ministry for proposed guidelines that would regulate the practice. Groningen Academic Hospital revealed that it has carried out four such procedures and estimates that about 10 cases a year would be subject to the guidelines. Child euthanasia is illegal everywhere, although the Netherlands is the first country to allow terminally ill adults to request that their lives be ended medically.

Another powerful typhoon was bearing down on the northern Philippines, 24 hours after its predecessor slammed into the region, killing at least 412 people. Another 177 remained missing, and efforts to find them were being hampered by the approach of the new storm.

All 166 men trapped after the explosion inside a coal mine in northern China last Sunday were confirmed dead, authorities said. The accident ranks as one of the worst in the nation with the world's worst mine- safety standards.

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