The first criminal trial of former dictator Saddam Hussein was scheduled for Oct. 19 by Iraqi authorities, but his defense counsel vowed to challenge both the date and the legitimacy of the court that will hear the case. He said the prosecution had not shared with him "36 tons" of documents relating to Hussein's alleged responsibility for the 1982 massacre of of 143 people in a town north of Baghdad and that he'd need "several years" to review the materials. If convicted of the charge, Hussein could be sentenced to death.

Worried rights organizations in Egypt asked a court to enforce its own ruling that monitors may be admitted to polling stations for Tuesday's presidential election. Opponents of incumbent Hosni Mubarak said they had reports that a large number of invalid voting cards were in circulation, possibly for use by people planning to cast more than one ballot. Mubarak is expected to win easily, but he faces nine rivals in the first election in which other candidates have been permitted.

Ending weeks of secrecy surrounding his health, Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova vowed to "work even harder" for independence despite being diagnosed with cancer. Rugova, an ethnic Albanian, has no obvious successor and negotiations are expected later this year on the political future of the UN- administered province. Serbs want Kosovo to remain part of the union that replaced the former Yugoslavia. Rugova has been undergoing hospital treatment since the apparent sudden deterioration in his health.

For the first time in more than 50 years, commercial airliners from Taiwan used China's airspace for regularly scheduled flights. Previously, only charters had been permitted over China on special occasions, such as the New Year holiday. Between them, China Airlines and EVA said they expect to use Chinese airspace for 94 flights a week. China OK'd an application for the use of its airspace Sunday.

At least 147 people died when an Indonesian commercial jet crashed and caught fire on takeoff from Medan, the nation's No. 3 city. Many of the casualties were on the ground. Reports said 16 passengers survived. It was the sixth major accident involving a passenger plane since early August.

Three girls confessed to starting a fire in a suburban Paris housing project that killed 16 people over the weekend. The blaze was the third of its kind in or near the capital in nine days and the fourth since April. Many of the victims have been African immigrants. Last Friday, authorities forcibly evacuated two dilapidated Paris apartment buildings similar to those involved in the earlier fires.

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