In a new blow to designers of the European Union, the British government announced that no referendum on its proposed Constitution will be scheduled until further notice. The announcement came on the heels of last week's rejections of the charter by voters in France and the Netherlands. Recent opinion polls have indicated that up to 64 percent of Britons also would vote "no." Britain assumes the rotating presidency of the EU next month, but Prime Minister Tony Blair is believed to want to give the bloc time to come to terms with the rejections by the French and Dutch. Meanwhile, Poland was expected to announce plans for its referendum on the proposed charter as soon as possible.
In a snub to the US and the UN, voters in south Lebanon gave Hizbullah a landslide victory in Sunday's legislative election - the nation's first since Syrian forces withdrew at the end of April. The pro-Syrian militant group won all 17 seats at stake and is expected to pick up five more in eastern and central districts next weekend. Hizbullah, which the US and Israel consider a terrorist organization, has rejected a Security Council resolution demanding that it disarm. Meanwhile, in another rebuff to anti-Syrian factions, President Emile Lahoud rejected all demands to resign.
Members of the ruling Baath Party in Syria should ignore all foreign pressure as they focus on improving the economy and curbing graft, President Bashir Assad told its first major convention in five years. He made no mention of political reforms sought by advocates of democracy and by Western governments, although he said those forces "aim at turning us into a negative mass that absorbs all that comes its way, without the will or ability to consider rejecting ... it."
Without warning, communist rebels exploded a land mine under a passing bus in rural Nepal, killing at least 38 people and wounding 71 others. Police said the bomb was detonated by remote control in an area previously considered relatively safe. It was among the worst since the rebels opened their campaign to topple the monarchy in 1996.
An "impartial" investigation into atrocities in Sudan's Darfur region was opened by the International Criminal Court, although it identified no suspects. In April, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan gave the ICC a sealed list of 51 names, many of them believed to be Sudanese government and military officials. But the Khartoum government has refused to yield juristiction in the matter and says it will prosecute suspects itself. An estimated 180,000 Darfur residents have died since February 2003, and violence continues there despite the presence of 2,300 cease-fire monitors.