Terrorists ended the relative calm in Iraq's capital, exploding a dozen bombs Wednesday that killed at least 152 people and wounded 542 others. The Arab satellite TV channel Al-Jazeera quoted Al Qaeda as saying the blasts were in retaliation for the joint US-Iraqi sweep through Tal Afar and the surrounding region near the border with Syria that have been terrorist strongholds.
Saying, "We did not make a lot of progress," senior US delegate Christopher Hill summed up the first two days of resumed negotiations over North Korea's nuclear program. He criticized the North Koreans for raising new issues that go beyond those being considered for a draft agreement among the six parties to the talks - in particular a demand to be permitted a light-water reactor that would generate electricity in civilian nuclear program.
Border guards from Egypt collapsed a tunnel into the Gaza Strip after finding a cache of Palestinian weapons in it. However, while Palestinian security police were making progress in ending the looting of ex-Jewish settlements, the traffic between Gaza and Egypt continued unabated, aided by the blasting open of the metal wall there by Hamas militants. Aides to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he'll demand that militants disband immediately after the parliamentary election in January. But Hamas vowed again not to disarm, and senior Palestinians cautioned against expecting a confrontation that could lead to civil war.
By the hundreds, uniformed Indonesian police boarded a ship to evacuate Aceh Province as its separatist rebels began the process of surrendering their weapons. Under the peace deal signed last month, the handover is to be completed by year's end while international observers monitor the situation. As that is happening, the Army is to withdraw almost half of its 57,000 troops deployed in Aceh. Efforts to arrange a peaceful end to the 29-year civil war there gained momentum after the tsunami of last Dec. 26 that killed an estimated 130,000 people and left a half-million others homeless.
The US will drop all trade tariffs and subsidies if other nations match it, President Bush told the opening of the UN General Assembly. Earlier, Secretary-General Kofi Annan welcomed the signing by world leaders of a blueprint for reform of the organization although it was heavily watered down. Among other points left out: an entire section on disarmament and proliferation, which Annan called "a real disgrace."