Waving posters of Saddam Hussein, thousands of Sunni demonstrators denounced Iraq's proposed constitution Monday in a rally in Tikrit, his hometown. But the Iraqi Islamic Party, one of the largest representing Sunnis, signaled that it could support the new charter "if the disputed points are resolved." A spokesman said "we still have time" for compromise on such points as federalism and the banning from public life of Hussein's Baathist Party "and its symbols." All Sunnis on the drafting committee have rejected the document, urging that it be defeated in a nationwide referendum Oct. 15. President Jalal Talabani has acknowledged that Sunnis may well defeat it at the polls, forcing the process to begin again.
Citing new grievances against the Bush administration, North Korea's government said it won't resume multilateral negotiations on its nuclear weapons program until at least Sept. 12. When the current talks adjourned Aug. 7, the six participants agreed to meet again this week. But the foreign ministry in Pyongyang said, "What the US has done is little short of spitting" at North Korea by conducting an annual military exercise with rival South Korea and appointing a new special envoy for human rights in the hard-line communist nation.
Despite the terrorist bombing in Israel Sunday, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade said they remain committed to a cease-fire with the Jewish state. They've pledged to abide by it until year's end. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack in Beersheba, which killed only the bomber but badly wounded two guards. On Monday, other guards caught a Palestinian teenager trying to enter Israel with three shrapnel-laced pipe bombs.
The multimillion-dollar crackdown on opium poppy farming in Afghanistan has resulted in a 21 percent drop in cultivation this year, a senior UN expert said. But because of plentiful rain and melting snowpack, areas in which poppies are still grown have yielded enough increased production to raise the overall quantity of opium by 2 percent, he said. Afghanistan produces an estimated 87 percent of the world supply of opium and its derivative, heroin.
A security guard was killed and two other people were wounded when unidentified men tossed hand grenades into the office of a Tamil-language newspaper in Sri Lanka's capital. The attack was the third in a little over a week against the paper, Sudar Oli, which is believed to have ties to the Tamil Tiger rebel movement. The rebels are demanding an end to the emergency rule imposed after the assassination earlier this month of Sri Lanka's foreign minister. Suspicion for his death has fallen on the rebels, but they deny any involvement.