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Arab governments and the European Union condemned Sunday's airstrike by Israel on a suspected terrorism training base in Syria. But the Damascus government failed to win sympathy from the US in an emergency UN Security Council meeting on the matter Sunday. Ambassador John Negroponte said the US "believes Syria is on the wrong side of the war on terrorism." It was not clear whether the US would veto a resolution condemning the Israeli strike. Negroponte said the measure needed further study by council members.

Using his decree powers, Yasser Arafat swept a Palestinian cabinet into office without waiting for legislative approval and imposed a state of emergency, apparently to try to forestall any Israeli attempt to expel him. Arafat's prime minister, Ahmed Qureia, told interviewers he'd ignore American wishes that he clamp down on Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other militants but hoped to negotiate a quick, comprehensive, and lasting truce with Israel.

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US forces ousted their own hand-picked police chief of a key Iraqi oil refining city north of Baghdad after days of riots and fighting stemming from demonstrations by Saddam Hussein loyalists. Beiji was reported tense and under heavy American guard as a chief elected by tribal leaders last spring was reinstated in the post. Meanwhile, a decision by Turkey's government to contribute thousands of peacekeeping troops to Iraq was to go to parliament in Ankara for the OK of lawmakers. A spokesman said he hoped the deployment would be for less than one year.

Saying, "It is impossible for others to catch up," elections officials in Chechnya were declaring the Kremlin-backed candidate the winner of Sunday's vote for president. Early returns showed Akhmad Kadyrov (above, leaving his polling place with grandsons in tow) with 81 percent of the ballots. Most of his rivals had long since quit the race. He is a former Islamic cleric and secessionist rebel, factors that the Kremlin is counting on to help normalize life in the volatile, mainly Muslim region, analysts said. But guerrillas already have dismissed the election as pointless and vowed to continue their fight to end Russian dominance.

Unidentified assassins killed a powerful hardline Sunni Muslim militant who was arrested two years ago before he could lead pro-Taliban demonstrations in Pakistan as the US was launching its counterterrorism war. There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the deaths of Maulana Azam Tariq, who won a seat in Parliament from behind bars and, later, his freedom when a court ruled the governmen had insufficient evidence to hold him. His driver and three bodyguards also died in the attack on the edge of Islamabad, the capital.


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