Russians Identify Gas

That Killed 117 Hostages

The gas that Russian authorities pumped into a theater to knock out Chechen guerrillas during a predawn commando raid Oct. 26 killed 117 of the 119 hostages who died as the siege ended.

Just two hostages died from gunfire before Russian special forces stormed the theater in southeast Moscow to end a 58-hour standoff, doctors said

Four days after the raid, the Russian Ministry of Health acknowledged that the gas was an opiate-based form of the drug fentanyl days after Western experts identified the substance.

President Vladimir Putin empowered the military to wage a U.S.-style war against terrorists "whatever their whereabouts." He vowed to pursue not only "the terrorists themselves," but their ideological sponsors and financial backers.

By focusing on the guerillas -- who demanded immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from Chechnya -- Putin drew attention away from the gas his security agencies deployed.

But the main questions have concerned the gas and whether Moscow medical authorities were unprepared to handle the hundreds of casualties because of official secrecy surrounding the gas. Health Minister Yuri Shevchenko adamantly denied that was the case.

-- Peter Baker and Susan Glasser

Mondale Enters Senate Race

In Minn. After Wellstone Death

Former vice president Walter F. Mondale officially entered the race for the Senate, launching one of the most unusual -- and shortest -- campaigns of great political consequence in U.S. history.

Eighteen years after winning only his home state of Minnesota and the District of Columbia as the Democratic presidential nominee, Mondale entered a campaign rocked by tragedy and controversy, this time as a stand-in for his friend, the late Democratic Sen. Paul D. Wellstone in the Nov. 5 election.

Wellstone died in a plane crash Oct. 25, sending a state known for its political quirkiness into tear-filled tumult in the waning days of the election. Republicans have hoped Minnesota might provide the one seat they need to reclaim the Senate majority they lost last year.

Polls had shown the race essentially neck-and-neck between Wellstone and GOP nominee Norm Coleman, a former St. Paul mayor. Mondale, 74, who spent 12 years in the Senate before becoming Jimmy Carter's vice president in 1976, enters the race as a favorite, according to a poll of likely voters taken Monday by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

-- Jim VandeHei and Robert E. Pierre

Lula Elected in Brazil,

Vows End to Hunger

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a former union leader who never attended college, won a landslide victory in a Brazilian presidential election that reflects the disenchantment sweeping much of Latin America after a decade of free-market reforms that have failed to deliver promised prosperity.

With 61.5 percent of the vote, Lula, as the gray-bearded socialist is known, defeated his centrist opponent, Jose Serra, a former government minister.

Lula's victory marks the first time a leftist has been elected president of Latin America's most populous country, and it could mean trouble for the economic reforms backed by the United States -- in particular, a hemisphere-wide free-trade zone -- that represent the Bush administration's most important policy initiatives in Latin America.

The day after his Oct. 27 election, Lula outlined a populist program designed to spur employment and end hunger in his vast country while promising to honor all of its foreign debt obligations.

-- Scott Wilson

Veteran U.S. Diplomat

Is Gunned Down in Jordan

A veteran U.S. diplomat was killed in the driveway of his Amman, Jordan, home as he walked from the front door to a carport, shot at least seven times by a masked gunman who fled on foot.

The victim was identified as Laurence M. "Larry" Foley, 60, executive officer of the U.S. Agency for International Development mission in Jordan. No group immediately asserted responsibility for his killing, but a Jordanian government minister said it is being investigated as a terrorist attack.

The Oct. 28 slaying followed no specific threat against the large U.S. Embassy in Jordan, authorities said. But it fit a pattern of recent attacks directed against undefended Western targets that have been blamed on extremists acting with or in sympathy with the al Qaeda network of Osama bin Laden.

-- Karl Vick

Israeli Labor Party Quits

Coalition Government

The Israeli Labor Party resigned from Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government, breaking up a popular but uneasy coalition that has ruled Israel through 19 months of conflict with Palestinians.

All six ministers from the center-left party resigned, including Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and the party chief, Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer. Labor members of the Israeli parliament subsequently voted against Sharon's 2003 budget after he refused demands to cut spending on Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and shift the funds to social programs.

The departure of Labor will force Sharon to turn to the right to seek support from smaller, ultraorthodox and extreme nationalist parties to keep his government afloat until the next elections, scheduled for October.

-- John Ward Anderson

U.S. Would Seek to Try

Hussein for War Crimes

The Bush administration is building cases against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and more than a dozen members of his inner circle who could be charged with crimes against humanity if the Iraqi government is toppled, according to U.S. officials.

Hussein and his sons Uday and Qusay are at the top of a working list of war crimes suspects. Also on the list are Ali Hassan Majeed, known as "Chemical Ali" for his use of chemical weapons against Kurds in northern Iraq, and Izzat Ibrahim, vice chairman of Iraq's Revolutionary Command Council.

Those five belong to a core group of about a dozen Iraqis whose actions on behalf of the Iraqi government are deemed by U.S. officials and human rights groups to merit charges of genocide or crimes against humanity.

The fate of Iraq's leadership cadre is considered crucial to the success of any U.S.-led operation against Hussein and central to the way Iraqis would rebound from three decades of dictatorship.

-- Peter Slevin

Decentralized Al Qaeda

Has Core of New Leaders

With Osama bin Laden and his chief lieutenants dead, captured or on the run, al Qaeda's operations are being directed by a handful of combat-hardened veterans, most of them little-known Middle Eastern men.

Intelligence officials view these men's emerging roles as proof that al Qaeda can adapt to rapidly changing circumstances and regenerate its leadership.

The nucleus of the group has worked together for years.

Some crossed paths while training Somali militiamen who killed 18 U.S. Army Rangers during a firefight in Mogadishu in October 1993, setting up the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, and plotting the October 2000 suicide ramming of the USS Cole.

But the overall network is becoming increasingly decentralized. While the al Qaeda leadership prior to Sept. 11, 2001, had a ruling council, the new leaders are less able to communicate and are spread around Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Arabian Peninsula and Southeast Asia, intelligence officials said.

-- Susan Schmidt and Douglas Farah