As many as 26 more people died in Iraq in relentless terrorist violence aimed at sabotaging the national election now 10 days away. All came via car bombings for which Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's "martyrdom squadrons" claimed responsibility. But chief UN adviser Carlos Valenzuela said only a sustained terrorist onslaught by terrorists or the mass resignations of elections workers could stop the Jan. 30 voting, and interim Interior Minister Flash Hassan al-Naqib urged his fellow Sunni Muslims to ignore the threats of violence and vote, saying "it will constitute treason" if they don't.

New Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas fired dozens of advisers to his late predecessor, Yasser Arafat, and his security chief ordered the deployment of forces on Israel's Gaza Strip border - the first concrete step to rein in terrorist attacks. Still, Hamas exploded a bomb at a Gaza checkpoint, killing an Israeli policeman and wounding seven other people. Hours later, a Palestinian rocket attack wounded two Israeli soldiers. The new spike in violence brought a request by Abbas for a meeting with Israeli security officials to discuss ways of curbing the rocket attacks.

New threats to the momentum for peace between India and Pakistan surfaced, with the latter denying accusations that its troops had violated the 14-month cease-fire in disputed Kashmir. A Pakistani commander said his men also had heard explosions coming from Indian territory but that they weren't due to mortar shells. On Tuesday, Pakistan asked the World Bank to intervene after accusing India of canceling negotiations over a controversial new Kashmir dam. The Islamabad government maintains that the dam will cut the flow of water into Pakistan.

Saying, "I always knew she was alive," an Indonesian fish trader was reunited with his young daughter, more than three weeks after they were separated by the tsunami that smashed their Aceh Province home. But, based on new information, the Jakarta government confirmed the deaths of tens of thousands of others previously listed as missing after the Dec. 26 disaster. That pushed the regional total above 226,000 dead. In Japan, a tsunami warning was lifted after a strong offshore earthquake failed to push waves more than a foot above normal.

In a major break with the Vatican, Spain's Catholic Church reversed course and endorsed the use of condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS. A spokesman said scientific research has shown such a method to be effective. The Vatican rules out condom use since it is a form of birth control. Last November, the Spanish Bishop's Conference protested a Health Ministry campaign that promoted condom use.

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