Israel to vote on Gaza truce

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Israel's Security Cabinet will vote tonight on an Egyptian proposal for a truce to end the 3-week-old offensive against Gaza's Hamas rulers, a senior government official said.

The official said a vote to approve the truce would amount to a 'unilateral' cease-fire, though Israeli forces would only leave Gaza after an official declaration that the fighting was over. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.

Cholera kills 2,225 people in Zimbabwe

HARARE, Zimbabwe - The death toll from a cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe rose to 2,225 Friday, and the head of the U.N. children's agency toured a hospital where weakened victims of the waterborne disease were receiving international help.

UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman, on a three-day visit to the southern African nation, also met Friday with President Robert Mugabe.

Candidate for Iraq position is assassinated

BAGHDAD - A Shiite candidate for provincial elections was assassinated Friday while campaigning south of Baghdad, underscoring fears that political rivalries will lead to a spike in violence ahead of Iraq's Jan. 31 vote.

U.S. and U.N. officials have pinned hopes on the country's first elections in over three years to help unify Iraq's fractured ethnic and sectarian groups and solidify security gains.

It was unclear who carried out Friday's attack.

Trial opens in Italy slaying

PERUGIA, Italy - A judge ruled Friday that the trial of an American student accused of killing her British roommate would remain open to the media despite concerns about the indignity of releasing sensitive details of an alleged sexual attack.

On the first day of the trial of Amanda Knox and her former Italian boyfriend, presiding Judge Giancarlo Massei rejected a request by the family of victim Meredith Kercher to have the proceedings closed to the public and the media.

Massei barred cameras from filming, but ruled the trial would remain open to print journalists - although some sessions could be closed. The ruling was one of several technical issues ironed out at the start of the trial.