U.N. resolution will force Iraq to disarm

WASHINGTON

The Bush administration will submit a revised resolution today to the U.N. Security Council that makes clear that Iraq must disarm, a senior administration official said.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the proposal has broad council support. Secretary of State Colin Powell worked out some of the final points during a telephone conversation with French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, the official said.

The Security Council plans to meet this morning to consider the U.S. draft.

The official said the resolution, the product of six weeks’ intense debate, takes into account the views of the United States and other council members.

“It makes clear that Iraq is in material breach (of prior resolutions),” the official said. Earlier, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher spoke of “growing support in the council for a strong resolution that makes clear to Iraq that it has failed to comply in the past, that it needs to comply with a tough inspection regime, that there’ll be serious consequences if it doesn’t.”

Powell also conferred during the day with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and three foreign ministers, Igor Ivanov of Russia, Jorge Castaneda of Mexico and Joschka Fischer of Germany.

Four plead guilty to bombing that killed 35

JERUSALEM

Four Palestinian residents of east Jerusalem pleaded guilty yesterday to direct involvement in four bombings that killed 35 people, including five Americans at Hebrew University, court officials said.

Prosecutors said the four belonged to a 15-member cell that orchestrated attacks that included a suicide bombing in a Jerusalem cafe in March that killed 11 Israelis, and the Hebrew University cafeteria bombing in July that killed a total of nine people.

One of the Palestinians, house painter Mohammed Oudeh, admitted to planting the bomb in the cafeteria at Hebrew University, in the eastern part of Jerusalem.

Unlike most Palestinians in the West Bank, Palestinians living in east Jerusalem have Israeli identity cards. This allowed them to travel freely inside Israel and plan the attacks, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors demanded that three of the four be given life sentences. The court postponed sentencing until December.

In violence yesterday in the southern Gaza Strip, Israeli soldiers came under fire and responded by shooting dead two Palestinians and injuring 19, according to the army and Palestinian officials.

WorldCom charges extend to ’99 fraud

WASHINGTON

The government yesterday expanded its civil fraud charges against WorldCom and the company raised its estimate of inflated earnings to more than $9 billion in one of the most stunning accounting scandals of the year.

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it had broadened the scope of its civil fraud charges, originally filed against the telecom company in June, to include an additional charge and to allege that WorldCom misled investors starting at least as early as 1999 through the first quarter of this year.

WorldCom is in settlement talks with the SEC. The nation’s second-largest long-distance carrier, which is operating under bankruptcy court protection, said it told the SEC during those discussions that, based on “very preliminary reviews” of its accounting, it expects an additional earnings restatement that could bring the total hole in its books to more than $9 billion.

Venezuelans riot after referendum clashes

CARACAS, Venezuela

Venezuela’s government weighed a petition yesterday for a nonbinding referendum on Hugo Chavez’s presidency as opponents charged he had lost control of his government after a day of street riots.

“Is there a government in Venezuela? … Who has the authority in Venezuela?” opposition lawmaker Gerardo Blyde asked during a congressional debate on Monday’s violence.

At least 17 people were wounded by rubber bullets and more than 60 others hurt by rocks or felled by tear gas in the clashes between Chavez’s supporters and police and National Guard troops in downtown Caracas.

The violence began after hundreds of Chavez’s supporters tried to block opposition marchers from delivering more than 2 million signatures to the National Election Council demanding the referendum.

Vatican to decide fate of gays in priesthood

VATICAN CITY

The Vatican said yesterday it is drafting new guidelines for accepting candidates for the priesthood that will address the question of whether gays should be barred.

The brief statement by the Vatican’s Press Office gave no indication what the conclusion may be despite news reports that the document will include directives against the admission of homosexuals.

Vatican congregations have been studying the issue for several years, but the question has received renewed attention given the clerical sex abuse scandal in the United States.

Most of the victims of molestation by priests have been adolescent boys. Experts on sex offenders say there is no credible evidence that homosexuals are more likely than heterosexuals to abuse children.

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