Pakistani Opposition Rejects Kashmir Plan

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Members of Pakistan's opposition rejected a formula proposed by the country's president for solving the lingering issue of Kashmir, saying on Tuesday they would never allow him to change the status of Kashmir against the wishes of its people.

The reaction came a day after the president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, told journalists in Islamabad that Pakistan and India must consider changing their positions on Kashmir to settle a decades-old dispute over the Himalayan region.

Musharraf said the countries should consider making some areas of Kashmir independent, placing them under joint Indian-Pakistani control or putting them under the administration of the United Nations.


* BELGRADE -- A novel by Radovan Karadzic, a Bosnian Serb wartime leader and the top U.N. war crimes fugitive, was a bestseller at Belgrade's international book fair, a publisher and former associate said.

"Miraculous Chronicles of the Night" was completed by Karadzic in August and "reached the publisher through secret channels," said Miroslav Toholj, a former Bosnian Serb information minister. All 1,000 copies of the novel -- a somewhat autobiographical tale set in Sarajevo in the 1980s -- were sold during the fair, Toholj said.

* KIEV, Ukraine -- Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to Ukraine for a live television appearance praising the Russian-backed candidate despite criticism that he was seeking to pressure voters ahead of weekend presidential elections in the former Soviet republic.


* ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Pakistan's National Assembly passed a bill that prescribes the death penalty for those who kill women in the name of family honor.

Under centuries-old tribal customs, hundreds of women are killed in Pakistan every year for bringing shame to their families by marrying for love, committing adultery or earning an inadequate dowry.

The bill, passed by the lower house of parliament on a voice vote, proposed the death sentence for the most extreme cases and prison terms from seven years to life.

* NAGAOKA, Japan -- Yet another strong earthquake hit northern Japan on Wednesday, hours after Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi traveled to the area to inspect collapsed homes and speak to survivors of a series of weekend temblors.

Wednesday's magnitude-6.0 quake caused no injuries or damage, according to early reports.

Meanwhile, the death toll rose to 31 as elderly victims died from the effects of the weekend quake, the deadliest to hit the island nation in nearly a decade.

The Americas

* HAVANA -- Cubans rushed on Tuesday to change dollars into local pesos as President Fidel Castro's communist government prepared to pull the U.S. currency from circulation more than a decade after it was legalized here. Many lined up anxiously to change their precious dollar savings, but were told they had to wait until Thursday.

Western diplomats saw the announcement as a clever way to rake in dollars that the cash-strapped state needs to import food and oil.


* UNITED NATIONS -- The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to meet in the Kenyan capital next month in an effort to forge peace in southern Sudan, which has suffered Africa's longest-running civil war.

"My hope is that the parties will certainly close the differences very, very substantially," said U.S. Ambassador John C. Danforth, who sponsored Tuesday's resolution.

The Security Council's Nov. 18-19 sessions in Nairobi also will try to give momentum to solving the crisis in Darfur, in western Sudan.

* LUSAKA, Zambia -- Zambia banned free distribution of condoms in schools on the same day the United States began a $24 million program to fight AIDS there by handing them out. A government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said a circular sent to schools ordered a halt to the condom programs, mostly run by nongovernmental organizations.

A senior health official said President Levy Mwanawasa had endorsed the ban in the southern African country, where one in five people have the AIDS virus.

the middle east

* BEIRUT -- Lebanon's new prime minister formed a cabinet consisting entirely of pro-Syrian politicians, defying growing international and domestic pressure against Syria's influence in the country.

-- From News Services