Terrorists struck again in Iraq Monday, exploding bombs inside an Army recruiting center and along a road in Mosul that killed at least 40 people and hurt 35 others. None of the casualties were Americans. But on the political front, Shiite leaders suspended cooperation with the US in forming a new government after a raid in which 22 apparently unarmed people died inside a mosque complex. They demanded that US forces return control of security to Iraqi authorities. A joint committee was formed to investigate the attack late Sunday in Baghdad. The American forces denied entering a mosque and said the dead were "insurgents" and that a cache of weapons had been found in the raid.

With ballot-counting from the election for a new parliament in Ukraine nearing completion, charismatic ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko appeared in position to determine its outcome. Exit polls showed her party solidly in second place behind the pro-Russian Regions Party of opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych. President Viktor Yushchenko's Our Ukraine Party was a distant third. Tymoshenko said a deal to keep the Regions Party from assuming power was "practically ready" and that negotiations were scheduled with the fourth-place Socialist Party to restore the so-called Orange Revolution that she and Yush-chenko headed before he fired her last summer over infighting in their ranks.

The convert to Christianity who was spared from trial and possible execution in Afghanistan is being watched "constantly," a prison administrator said Monday as authorities were deciding whether to release him. But because of the sensitivity of Abdul Rahman's case, he was being kept in a cell alone to prevent him from being attacked by other prisoners or even guards. He could be freed, pending a decision on whether to reopen his case on different grounds, but Muslim clerics have threatened to incite Afghans to kill him for apostasy. A crowd of perhaps 1,000 Afghans gathered in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, demanding Rahman's execution. But after about two hours, the protesters dispersed.

Cabinet ministers of the Hamas-led Palestinian government will be sworn into office not later than Wednesday, their leader said. Prime Minister-designate Ismail Haniyeh told the Palestinian parliament that although the government is on the brink of collapse due to a threatened cutoff of aid from Western countries, "Those who believe that economic pressures will force [us] into submission are wrong." Hamas, he said, seeks a dialogue with donors and would provide them with unspecified "guarantees." But he also stressed that Hamas had won election "on the basis of ... defending the legitimacy of the resistance to [Israeli] occupation."

The new peace initiative offered by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is welcome, Pakis-tan's Foreign Ministry said, but no treaty between the two countries is possible until after the dispute over Kashmir is resolved. Singh said last Friday that India wanted the treaty "of peace, security, and friendship" as a new step in ending more than a half-century of hostile relations, adding that it shouldn't wait until the Kashmir dispute is settled. But the Foreign Ministry said that only such a settlement could "usher in an era of good neighborly relations."

Introducing democracy to a country that is wracked by political and ethnic tensions can't be rushed, Burma's leader said as the ruling junta staged the first official ceremony in its new capital. Than Shwe told 10,000 troops on Armed Forces Day in Naypyidaw that "the emergence of a democratic state ... needs time to be implemented." The junta says "the first steps" are under way in drafting a new Constitution but has given no timetable for elections. Its plan has drawn heavy international criticism for being too vague and too slow. Naypyidaw was carved out of jungle 240 miles north of Yangon, the traditional capital, a move that critics say signals a further retreat into isolation by the secretive junta.

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