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World Briefing - 2002-10-02

West African mediators are trying to negotiate a cease-fire between Ivory Coast government and the rebel forces who have taken over several cities in the North. These West African leaders say that they will send a multinational force to the Ivory Coast if negotiations fail.

Rescuers have abandoned the search for survivors from a Senegalese ferry that capsized last Thursday off the coast of Gambia. Although the vessel was only meant to carry about 550 passengers, 1,000 people have reportedly drowned. Senegal's transport and defense ministers have since resigned.

In the Serbian Presidential race, Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica was the top vote getter in Sunday's first round, winning 31 percent of the vote. Mr. Kostunica says, if elected, he will call for early parliamentary elections to form a new government. He will face a pro-Western candidate in a runoff ballot in two weeks.

On Tuesday, polls closed after a day of deadly attacks by suspected Muslim militants in Indian Kashmir. One explosion killed six Indian soldiers and wounded at least two troopers in Srinagar. Eight people were also killed when militants fired on a bus in Kashmir's Kathua district. Kashmiri separatists have vowed to disrupt the statewide elections.

In India, on Tuesday, at least 15 people were killed after two navy planes collided in mid-air. One of the planes crashed into a building under construction, killing three workers. The other plane crashed into a field. The two Russian-built aircraft collided while practicing formation flying for events marking the 25th anniversary of their squadron.

At the closing meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, in Washington, Sunday, finance ministers pledged to help developing countries escape the burden of unsustainable debt. They said they would submit a concrete proposal for a bankruptcy system within the next six months. The meetings took place amid demonstrations voicing opposition to global capitalism.

Hurricane Lili has drenched western Cuba and is expected to strengthen as it heads for the Gulf of Mexico. On Tuesday, Lili hit Cuba's Isle of Youth, causing Cuban authorities to evacuate more than 125,000 people from low-lying areas. A hurricane watch is now in effect along the U.S. Gulf coast from eastern Texas to the mouth of the Mississippi River.