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World Briefing - 2003-02-12

Divisions are deepening in Ivory Coast over the make-up of a power-sharing government designed to end five months of civil war. Rebels who control the northern half of Ivory Coast say they will resume fighting if they aren't given the ministries of defense and interior as promised in France last month.

The White House says peace between nuclear rivals India and Pakistan is a long-term project for President Bush. The comments came after India and Pakistan expelled each other's acting high commissioners. India accuses Pakistan's top envoy of funneling money to Muslim separatists fighting to end Indian rule in Kashmir. Pakistan denies the charge and ordered India's envoy out of Islamabad. In related news India has today test-fired another supersonic cruise missile made jointly with Russia.

Philippine President Gloria Arroyo has lifted a cease-fire and ordered the military to continue its offensive against Muslim rebels on southern Mindanao island. The offensive began Tuesday, sparking fierce clashes between government troops and members of the rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front about 900 kilometers southeast of Manila.

Saudi authorities say they have strengthened security measures at the annual Hajj pilgrimage, one day after 14 worshippers were trampled to death. At least 15 others were injured in the stampede near Mecca, where some two million pilgrims are performing the Hajj's final ritual -- throwing stones at three pillars that symbolize the devil.

Finally, the head of an independent panel investigating the space shuttle Columbia disaster has pledged to do everything possible to find out why it disintegrated February first. Meanwhile, the crewmembers of the International Space Station say they will stay aboard as long as necessary, while U.S and Russian space officials decide how best to keep the orbiting outpost operating. The U.S space shuttle normally services the station, but flights are suspended for an investigation following the Columbia disaster.