Ivory Coast Prime Minister Seydou Diarra has been given sweeping powers to end six months of civil war. The developments follow a deal by rebels last week to drop their demands for the ministries of defense and the interior in a unity government.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has joined European royalty and heads of state in launching the world's first permanent war crimes court. The court will have the power to prosecute the world's most serious crimes, including genocide and crimes against humanity. But its jurisdiction will be limited to the countries that signed the treaty.

And Mr. Annan said Tuesday his latest and final effort to resolve the division of Cyprus has failed. Mr. Annan's announcement followed marathon talks in The Hague with Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

Tokyo stocks have pierced the 8,000 threshold to end at their lowest in two decades. Analysts say investors saw no sign of effective government steps to bolster a market that is worried about the prospects of a war against Iraq.

China's top law enforcement officials have vowed to continue their crackdown on crime. Justice officials told the annual session of the National People's Congress in Beijing that more than three million people have been convicted of crimes over the past five years. They said their top criminal targets remain corrupt government officials and those who jeopardize state security.

Pakistan's chief intelligence agency says a top al-Qaida member arrested earlier this month has given information that is helping investigators close in on al-Qaida terrorist Osama bin Laden. The Pakistani man was arrested with suspected September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. He was in court Tuesday and lawyers said his trial could start this month.