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Campaigning began in Ukraine for the new runoff election for president ordered late last week by the Supreme Court. But a key ally of opposition leader Viktor Yuschenko warned his supporters not to assume that the Dec. 26 vote would be any freer or fairer than the Nov. 21 balloting that triggered the nation's political crisis, and parliament adjourned until Dec. 14 without passing a bill to amend the election law in ways aimed at ensuring a fair vote.

Terrorists in Iraq killed at least 68 more people over the weekend in violence in the Sunni Triangle cities of Baquba, Beiji, Samarra, and Tikrit as well as in Baghdad and the northern city of Mosul. Meanwhile, the Red Crescent Society pulled out of Fallujah, saying that city still isn't secure enough to conduct relief work.

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More than 1,300 people were reported dead or missing in the eastern and northern Philippines from a series of four severe storms last week. The Manila government rushed food and drinking water to the affected areas and appealed to foreign donors for financial help in rebuilding destroyed towns, roads, and bridges.

Empty and partially destroyed villages in eastern Congo were spotted from the air Saturday by UN observers looking for evidence of invading troops from Rwanda. But the observers said it wasn't possible to establish who was responsible for the situation, and Rwanda's government continued to deny that its forces were in Congo. Rwanda invaded Congo in 1996 and 1998, in pursuit of Hutu rebels involved in the genocide earlier in the decade. The second invasion sparked a five-year-long regional war.

Military cargo planes dropped tens of millions of folded paper "doves" over southern Thailand in a preannounced effort to promote peace in a region torn by Islamic separatist violence. In the blizzard of paper was one carrying Prime Minister Thak-sin Shinawatra's signature and the promise of a scholarship for a child or a job for an adult. But as people gathered to wait for the airdrop in one locale, police said they defused a 22-pound bomb almost certainly planted by militants. More than 500 people have died in Thailand's three southern provinces since January in sniper attacks, bombings, and clashes between militants and security forces.


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