Shiites and Kurds in Iraq yielded to the demands of Sunni leaders and agreed to amend the proposed constitution three days before it is put to a vital national referendum. The amended version was to be voted on by parliament as the Monitor went to press, with no difficulty anticipated in mustering the two-thirds vote necessary for acceptance. Some Sunnis, notably parliament Speaker Hajim al-Hassani and general secretary of the Iraqi Islamic Party Tareq al-Hashemi, also were urging a "yes" vote when Iraqis go to the polls Saturday, although others still vowed to defeat the charter. The changes don't address the Sunni demand for regional autonomy, but they emphasize Iraq's "unity, earth, people, and sovereignty." They also confirm that it belongs "to the Arab and Islamic worlds" and that Arabic shall be an approved language in the Kurdish northern region of the country.

With results of a UN investigation into the murder of popular ex-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri of Lebanon about to be made public, a senior official of Syria's government was found dead of an apparent suicide. Interior Minister Ghazi Kenaan's death was seen as a sign of turmoil in high government circles. Hours earlier, he denied in an interview on a Lebanese radio station that he'd told the UN investigators of corruption during Syria's control over its neighbor and then said, "I believe this is the last statement I can make." Syria is bracing for the possibility that the probe will implicate some of its highest-ranking officials in the Feb. 14 assassination of Hariri.

A return of good weather allowed relief efforts to regain full momentum in Pakistan and India, although victims in some areas hardest-hit by Saturday's powerful earthquake had yet to see any help. A Pakistani Army commander said, "Every time we rush to one place, we hear of another that is worse." As they monitored relief efforts, other authorities there and in India said their chief concern was the onset of winter in the region, where snow already could be seen on distant mountains.

Homemade rockets that were meant to be fired at the residence of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe were found in a police raid on a house in Bogotá, he said. Uribe took office vowing to crush a communist insurgency, and a rocket attack on his inauguration day in 2002 killed 19 people. The discovery came less than a day after a senator allied with Uribe survived an attempt on his life, apparently by leftist rebels.

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