Hundreds of Palestinian police are to be deployed Friday along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, the first security cooperation between the two sides since the death of Yasser Arafat. Israeli officials accepted the outline of the plan late Wednesday in a meeting sought by Arafat's successor as Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas. Against that backdrop, however, Hamas said it would end attacks against Israelis only if the Jewish state abandoned all military activity in Gaza and freed Palestinian prisoners.
US military personnel were ordered to scale back tsunami- relief operations in Indonesia's Aceh Province, effective immediately. Their commander, Adm. Thomas Fargo, said the focus of aid work was shifting to reconstruction projects, whose functions will be assumed by "the host nation and international organizations."
Viktor Yushchenko, who won the presidency of Ukraine in an unprecedented second runoff election, will be inaugurated Sunday, parliament decided. The date was set after the Supreme Court rejected another challenge to the outcome by losing candidate Viktor Yanukovich, saying its decision "is not subject to appeal." Yushchenko also accepted congratulations from Russian leader Vladimir Putin and said his first official visit would be to Moscow. Putin previously had made no secret of his preference for Yanukovich.
A Taliban terrorist bomber killed himself and wounded 21 other people at a Muslim religious festival in northern Afghanistan but failed to assassinate his apparent target, warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum. Dostum was shaken by the incident but otherwise unhurt. A Taliban spokesman said via satellite phone that the attack was intended to avenge the deaths of some of its members who were taken prisoner in the US-led war of 2002. Dostum was a key US ally in that conflict.
Government troops were out in force in the streets of Guinea's capital, and a manhunt was on for the gunmen who fired on President Lansana Conte's motorcade Wednesday. He was unhurt, but two of his guards were seriously wounded. There is no clear successor to the elderly Conte, who has led the impoverished country since 1984, and analysts worry that a violent power struggle would ensue if harm should come to him.