Expectations were low for the success of special US envoy Anthony Zinni's new mission to the Middle East, where he hoped to broker a cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinians. While Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ordered a phased withdrawal of his forces from the West Bank city of Ramallah, the militant Hamas movement said its attacks would continue despite Zinni's efforts because Israel had "carpeted the land with blood." (Story, page 1.)
Thousands of government troops arrived to guard the troubled Indian city of Ayodhya as Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee appealed to both Hindus and Muslims to keep the peace. A Hindu prayer ceremony scheduled for today on ground that both faiths consider holy was banned by the High Court. But a powerful Hindu cleric threatened to commit suicide if the ruling was enforced. More than 700 people died in recent weeks in sectarian violence stemming from Hindu plans to build a temple on the site of a 16th century mosque that was razed in 1992. Above, soldiers watch a Hindu elder pass their position in Ayodhya. (Story, page 8.)
The first of 18 senior military and civilian officials implicated in the 1999 atrocities committed in East Timor went on trial in Indonesia. Conviction on such charges as crimes against humanity could bring the death penalty. But critics were skeptical that "real" justice would prevail, complaining that the judges were unqualified and noting that some of the worst offenses fell outside the court's jurisdiction. (Story, page 7.)
A new name and political structure for Yugoslavia were the main themes of a historic agreement signed in Belgrade. Under the deal, brokered by the European Union to try to prevent the final breakup of the troubled country, it will be called Serbia and Montenegro and will have a one-house parliament weighted to give the latter republic parity with its far larger partner. They also will share responsibility for their defense and economy. The name Yugoslavia, in use since the 1920s, will be scrapped.
Sunday's national election in Portugal is expected to produce a narrow victory for the opposition Social Democratic Party, but not by enough to push its proposed economic reforms through parliament, opinion polls showed. Campaigning has centered on concern that Portugal, already a tail-ender in terms of economic growth among EU members, will fall even further behind once the bloc expands by up to 12 more countries. The vote became necessary when the Socialist government resigned after heavy losses in local elections last December.