A Diplomatic Tug-of-War
While the U.S. congress debated a motion on war with Iraq, the U.S. and Britain agreed on a draft U.N. resolution that gives Iraq a week to list the prohibited weapons in its possession, to allow inspections and to agree to disarm. The draft threatens "use of all necessary means" if Saddam Hussein fails to comply. "The resolution, or resolutions, must be strong enough ... that they produce disarmament and not just inspections," said U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. That was the easy part. State Department official Marc Grossman visited France and Russia veto-holding Security Council members along with China to win support for the draft. France and China want a two-step process with a second resolution should Iraq defy the U.N. Russia opposes the use of force and insists no new resolution is needed. The wrangling continues.
Customs police in the northeastern city of Metz discovered 100 g of explosives on a chartered Royal Air Maroc plane, raising fears the material was planted for use in a terror attack. The wad of plastic explosives similar to that carried by alleged shoe-bomber Richard Reid had been wedged beneath an armrest with no detonation device attached. It was found by sniffer dogs during a random inspection of the flight from Marrakesh, Morocco. French antiterror officials said the find may have thwarted a two-step plot, in which one operative planted the bombing material for an accomplice to outfit with a detonator and explode during a later flight.
Dozens of Russian servicemen and Chechen separatist rebels died in heavy fighting in Russia's republic of Ingushetia, which borders Chechnya to the west. Rebels shot down a Russian Mi-24 attack helicopter during the battle around the village of Galashki, about 20 km from Chechnya. Russian officials said that a group of about 300 fighters crossed into Ingushetia from Georgia.
see also: Tales from the Federation
Kuchma in a Corner
At least 2,000 people took to the streets of the capital Kiev demanding the resignation of President Leonid Kuchma, accused of corruption and involvement in the killing of a reporter. Opposition leaders occupied Kuchma's administrative building and began a hunger strike. Kuchma also faces trouble abroad: the U.S. accused him of having sold radar systems to Iraq, contravening U.N. sanctions.
see also: TIME's Ukraine Archive
Saved From The Crossfire
French troops rescued 160 schoolchildren from a rebel-held city after a military uprising turned into a civil war. The children, including 100 Americans, were trapped for a week inside their boarding school in the country's second-biggest city, Bouake, by heavy fighting between government and rebel troops. French soldiers drove the children to their base at an airport near the capital, Yamoussoukro, 65 km to the south. U.S. special forces in C-130 cargo planes had arrived hours earlier to evacuate the children and other Westerners to neighboring Ghana.
Siege of Ramallah
Israel defied U.S. criticism and a U.N. resolution calling for an immediate end to its siege of Yasser Arafat's compound in Ramallah. Israeli officials insisted that Arafat first had to hand over 50 alleged militants holed up with him in his half-ruined office building. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said the men with Arafat were "the biggest terrorists that exist." Meanwhile, at least 18 Palestinians (including a 14-month-old girl) and two Israelis died in clashes across the occupied territories.
Blood On The Temple Floor
Indian army commandos stormed a Hindu temple at dawn, killing two suspected Islamic militants and bringing to an end a bloody 13-hour siege. The militants had killed 28 worshipers and three security officials in the Akshardham temple complex in Gandhinaghar, capital of Gujarat the western state where nearly 2,000 people, mostly Muslim, died in sectarian rioting in February and March. The Indian army sent 3,000 troops to Gujarat to keep the peace. Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishnan Advani visited the temple and blamed Pakistan for the attack.
In a gangland-style execution, gunmen killed seven Pakistani Christians and left one man injured at the offices of a charity in the commercial capital Karachi. The unidentified men entered the Institute for Peace and Justice, tied and gagged their victims, and then shot them in the head. "I don't believe this was a terrorist attack," said Simeon Pereira, Archbishop of Karachi. Instead, he suspected a "grudge" and linked the murders to that of the charity's chairman Ivan Moon four months ago.
Rocking the Vote
The second phase of voting in Kashmir's state elections ended in an atmosphere poisoned by violence and a call for boycott by separatists. The Indian Election Commision said 42% of voters cast their ballots across three districts. Turnout was low in some Muslim- majority areas with a polling center at Habba Khadal, near the summer capital Srinagar, registering just 1% of the electorate. Polling in the two other districts, Budgam and Jammu, was said to be much brisker, with turnout as high as 59% and 70% in two Hindu-majority constituencies. This was despite two violent incidents between security forces and militants that left six separatists dead.
Stairway from Hell
Four school officials in northern China were arrested after 21 teenage students were crushed to death and more than 50 injured when a staircase collapsed as they were leaving school after dark. An investigation in Fengzhen, Inner Mongolia, revealed the staircase was unlit, the banisters in the newly built school were made from thin steel ties instead of welded pipes and the staircase was too narrow for use by the school's large number of pupils.
Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore warned that a hasty attack on Iraq would "severely damage" the war on terrorism and "weaken" American leadership in the world. Gore argued that George W. Bush had set his sights on deposing Saddam Hussein because the hunt for Osama bin Laden had faltered. By turning to Iraq, Gore said, "the President has manifestly disposed of the sympathy, goodwill and solidarity compiled by America and transformed it into a sense of deep misgiving and even hostility." Three days later Gore said Bush domestic-security measures amounted to an "attack on civil liberties" and called denying U.S. citizens the right to counsel "disgraceful."
Want To Supersize It?
A man who ordered extra biscuits with his fried chicken at a drive-through restaurant in San Francisco was handed two bags of marijuana by the clerk at the service window. The driver gave the bags back and called the police, who arrested Carlos Ayala, 26. Authorities allege Ayala was selling pot to customers who knew the password.