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President Kim Dae Jung said agreements reached Tuesday by South Korean and North Korean negotiators had "special meaning" because of the terrorist attacks in the United States.

The first talks between the two Koreas after six months of suspended contacts yielded plans for another reunion of separated family members, many of whom have not seen each other since the 1950-53 Korean War.

South Korea, where 37,000 American troops are deployed, has pledged support for any U.S. plans to retaliate against suspected terrorists.

North Korea condemned the attacks in New York and Washington but apparently did not agree to Kim's appeal for a joint statement against terrorism.

N. Ireland government
is likely to be suspended

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) -- Northern Ireland's joint Catholic-Protestant government, the fruit of a hard-won 1998 peace pact, faces likely suspension this weekend as the sides traded blame Tuesday for the arguments tearing their coalition apart.

Britain and Ireland met today in London at Prime Minister Tony Blair's office. But with Blair embroiled in efforts to forge a global response to last week's terrorist attacks on the United States, the Northern Ireland crisis was a lower priority.

All sides face a Saturday deadline for filling the government's top Protestant post, vacated in July when Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble resigned.

The Ulster Unionists, who are entitled to the post as the largest party, insisted they wouldn't nominate a candidate unless the Irish Republican Army started to disarm as the 1998 peace accord here intended. But the IRA-linked Sinn Fein, a Catholic member of the four-party government, indicated no new moves on arms. Sinn Fein negotiator Gerry Kelly, a former IRA bomber, accused the Ulster Unionists of intransigence.

Referendum idea may risk
Macedonian peace plan

SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) -- Macedonia's Parliament wrestled Tuesday with a proposal that could put at risk the entire peace process -- a demand to submit the Western-backed peace plan to a referendum.

Tension also built in the north after firefights between Macedonian forces and ethnic Albanians.

The peace plan commits Parliament to enacting constitutional reforms that would grant minority ethnic Albanians more rights if ethnic Albanian rebels surrendered weapons to NATO troops.

Mexican state revokes law
linking rape to provocation

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (AP) -- Bowing to pressure from outraged women's groups, a Mexican state legislature Tuesday scrapped a recently approved law aimed at shortening prison sentences for rapists judged to have been provoked by their victims.

Lawmakers in Chihuahua dropped a clause of the state penal code they approved in August that cut the minimum rape sentence from four years to one year if the offender could prove the victim provoked the attack. The new code will take effect in the northern state next week.

The legislators backed down in a unanimous vote after a nationwide campaign by a coalition formed after a series of murders in the border city of Ciudad Juarez in which the victims were also raped.

Chihuahua lawmakers had said the clause was designed to prevent women from falsely accusing boyfriends of rape to avoid telling their parents that they are having sex -- something federal legislators had said is common.

But opponents said it would have let rapists claim they attacked their victims because they dressed scantily or simply smiled at them.

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