The war-crimes trial of Saddam Hussein resumed after a 40-day delay but quickly was adjourned again to allow two codefendants time to arrange for new attorneys. Dec. 5 was set as the date for the next session, or 10 days before Iraqis are to vote in their long-awaited election for a full-time parliament. Before the adjournment was ordered, however, Hussein argued with the judge, demanding that his shackles be removed and blasting his guards as "invaders and occupiers." He and seven senior aides are charged with the murders of 148 men in a village that was the scene of an assassination attempt in 1982. All have pleaded not guilty. Two of the seven were left without legal representation when their lawyers were shot to death or fled the country.
A whole new primary election must be scheduled, the ruling party of the Palestinians decided after gunmen in the Gaza Strip forced several polling places to close Monday. The invaders fired into the air and seized or destroyed ballot boxes, complaining that the names of thousands of eligible voters had been left off the rolls. The incident was seen as a serious blow to President Mahmoud Abbas's efforts to demonstrate control over Gaza in the wake of last summer's Israeli pullout. The Fatah primary was aimed at ridding the party of many entrenched veterans who are widely seen as corrupt, and replacing them with younger politicians in the hope that they can compete on a more equal footing with Hamas candidates in the Jan. 25 parliamentary election.
Barring an unforeseen last-minute development, Canada's opposition parties appeared certain to bring down the minority government of Prime Minister Paul Martin in a no-confidence vote in Parliament Monday night. That would set up a new national election that political observers say few Canadians want. Citing sources in Martin's Liberal Party, the Toronto Globe and Mail said the election probably will be scheduled for Jan. 23, setting up a campaign that will pause only for the year-end holidays. Martin was booed lustily as he presided over the ceremonial flip of the coin Sunday for the championship game of the Canadian Football League.
Peace negotiations with the Tamil separatist movement can resume immediately, Sri Lanka's new president said after its leader appeared to threaten a return to civil war. Mahinda Rajapakse said he was "extending the hand of friendship" to Tamil Tiger chief Velupillai Prabhakaran and that the two sides could discuss "in parallel" a redrawing of their shaky 2002 cease-fire agreement and a "lasting solution" to the question of Tamil autonomy. Tamil leaders have said they'd view any attempt to change the terms of the truce as grounds for its collapse. Rajapakse, who opposes autonomy, is viewed as having won the Nov. 17 presidential election over a more conciliatory rival in part because the rebels intimidated many Tamils into staying home from the polls.
A nationwide recount was ordered after Sunday's presidential election in Honduras, although opposition candidate Manuel Zelaya appeared to have an insurmountable 50.8 percent to 45.2 percent lead. Porfirio Lobo Sosa, the candidate of the ruling National Party, was refusing to concede defeat, however. His mentor, incumbent Ricardo Maduro, was ineligible to seek another term. Zelaya, a former member of Congress, ran on a pledge to clean up corruption.
Already beset by the toxic chemical spill in one of their major rivers, Chinese authorities confirmed another in a long series of fatal coal mine explosions. Ninety-seven men were rescued after the blast in Heilongjiang Province, which also is the scene of the chemical spill. But at least 134 others died and rescue crews were trying to reach 15 more who were still missing. Meanwhile, all 18 men trapped by flooding in a mine in Hubei Province were confirmed dead Monday. China has the world's worst mine safety record.