US and Iraqi forces captured a reported 200 terrorist suspects in tightening their noose around the city of Tal Afar, 35 miles from the border with Syria. The majority of those taken prisoner are from Syria, Sudan, Yemen, and Jordan, a spokesman said. The rest were described as Iraqis trying to blend in with civilians fleeing the city. Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported that up to 85 percent of Sunni Muslims in some provinces have registered to vote in Iraq's Oct. 15 referendum on the proposed new constitution. Most Sunnis boycotted last January's election.

The six-nation negotiations on dismantling communist North Korea's nuclear program will resume Tuesday, China's Foreign Ministry announced. The talks, which also include the US, South Korea, Japan, and Russia, broke off Aug. 7 without agreement on even a statement of principles on which future meetings should be based. At the time, the North insisted that it has the right to a civilian program, and in a statement earlier this week it said abandoning the program was "unimaginable." The Pyongyang government also demanded that the US withdraw its 32,500 troops from South Korea to prove it has no intention of attacking the North.

Incumbent Hosni Mubarak was headed for a landslide victory in

Egypt's first contested presidential election. With ballot- counting half over, a national elections commission said Mubarak had at least 70 percent of the vote. His principal challenger, however, vowed to seek a rerun on grounds of fraud and intimidation. Turnout for Wednesday's election was only about 30 percent, the commission said - a possible indication that most Egyptians weren't impressed with the limited experiment in democracy.

The new government resulting from Ukraine's "Orange Revolution" last January was fired by President Viktor Yushchenko amid infighting and accusations of unchecked graft. Yushchenko said he'd ask a regional governor, Yury Yekhanurov, to form a replacement. But rather than risk isolating his key ally, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, he asked her to remain as an adviser.

Over the protests of civil libertarians, Australian Prime Minister John Howard said his government will ask Parliament to approve some of the world's toughest antiterrorism measures. Among them: allowing police to track suspected terrorists electronically for up to a year and detain them for 48 hours without being charged. Australia has yet to be hit by a major attack on its own soil, but its close cooperation with the US counterterrorism effort often suggests that it could become a target.

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