International news briefs. International news briefs

VATICAN CITY: Though he struggled with all his might, a suffering Pope John Paul II failed to voice a traditional Easter Sunday blessing for the first time in his 26-year pontificate, in a poignant appearance at his window overlooking a rain-dampened St Peter's Square.

BEIRUT: Lebanon is grappling with the consequences of another bomb blast in a Christian neighbourhood that opposition figures charged was work of security services trying to foment sectarian unrest at a moment of high political tension.

SHTAURA, Lebanon: The Syrian army continued for the fifth consecutive day to dismantle anti-aircraft positions in the east of Lebanon, which it has controlled for the past 29 years.

BISHKEK: The new leaders of Kyrgyzstan, brought to power by a lightning revolution in the Central Asian state, met with the head of Europe's leading security organisation as they struggled to end a parliamentary split that threatened a fragile return to calm.

MONACO: Hopes began to fade for Monaco's 81 year-old ruler Prince Rainier, as the palace said his condition was still deteriorating despite intensive care, with his heart, lungs and kidneys all failing.

TOKYO: French President Jacques Chirac said on a visit to Japan that China's desire for the European Union to lift its weapons embargo was "legitimate" and would not entail EU exports of sensitive weapons and technology to Beijing.

BAGHDAD: Iraqi politicians fought over the oil ministry and the role of Islam in the next government, while an al-Qaeda website posted a video of the purported execution of an Iraqi colonel.

CAIRO: An Egyptian was jailed for 35 years by an emergency tribunal for spying for Iran and plotting to assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in a sentence that cannot be appealed.

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