Oct. 12 to Oct. 18 WORLD GET CARTER: Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter won the Nobel Peace Prize on Oct. 11 for his peace mediation efforts and promotion of human rights in what the awards committee said was a criticism of U.S. policy. Carter’s “vital contribution” to the Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt was singled out.

PAKISTAN: After three years of military rule, no single party won a majority in Pakistan’s parliamentary elections, according to official results announced Oct. 11. The promilitary government party held a provisional lead, but would need to cobble together a coalition with other parties to form a government.

FINLAND: A crowded mall in Vantaa, about 15 km north of Helsinki, was the scene of a huge bomb explosion Oct. 11 that killed seven people and injured 80. Police said they suspected a Finnish male student — under 20 and a resident of the Helsinki region — of being responsible for the blast and added that he was himself killed in the incident.

IRAQ: The U.S. Congress voted solidly Oct. 11 and 12 to give President George W. Bush the broad authority he sought to use U.S. military force to confront Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, handing him a crucial national security policy victory.

* Poll shocker — Saddam Hussein won another seven-year term as Iraq’s president in a referendum in which he was the sole candidate, taking 100 percent of the vote, it was announced Oct. 16.

* Complication — President Bush’s plans to attack Iraq were complicated Oct. 16 by North Korea’s admission that it is developing a nuclear weapons program, in violation of a 1994 agreement. Bush has branded North Korea as part of an “axis of evil” with Iran and Iraq and has based his offensive against the latter on suspicions that it is trying to develop weapons of mass destruction.

SNIPER: Kenneth H. Bridges, a traveling businessman shot while a police officer stood 50 meters away, was confirmed Oct. 12 as the eighth victim of a sniper terrorizing the Washington area.

* One more — Linda Franklin, a Federal Bureau of Investigation analyst, became the sniper’s ninth victim Oct. 14, killed by a single shot to the head outside a Home Depot store in the Falls Church, Va. area.

BALI BLASTS: A massive explosion from a car bomb destroyed a nightclub late Oct. 12 on the tourist island of Bali, sparking a devastating inferno that killed more than 180 people and wounded more than 300, many of them Australians and other foreigners. Two other smaller bombs went off on the island almost simultaneously.

* No takers — There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blasts, but they came three days after the U.S. government issued a worldwide alert for terror attacks. Washington fears that Indonesia is becoming a haven for al-Qaeda terrorists.

* Probe — It was reported Oct. 15 that police had detained two Indonesians for questioning over the bombing.

ITALY: Former security guard Mauro Antonello shot dead his ex-wife and six other relatives and neighbors in the village of Chieri near Turin on Oct. 14. Antonello killed himself after the bloody rampage.

THE WORM TURNS: A man in central China was recovering at a hospital after uncorking a bottle of spirits containing what was supposed to be a dead, preserved snake — which promptly leaped out and bit him in the neck, it was revealed Oct. 15.

NETHERLANDS: Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende told Parliament on Oct. 16 he would present his government’s resignation to Queen Beatrix. The announcement came after the resignations of two Cabinet ministers involved in a bitter power struggle over the legacy of slain politician Pim Fortuyn.

PHILIPPINES: Two bombs exploded at midday Oct. 17 in downtown Zamboanga in the violence-wracked southern Philippines, killing five people and injuring at least 144. Suspicion immediately fell on the Muslim guerrilla group Abu Sayyaf, which is reportedly linked to al-Qaeda.

NATIONAL AUM SENTENCE: Seiichi Endo, Aum Shinrikyo’s former chief chemist, was sentenced to death Oct. 11 for murder and other charges related to the deadly sarin gas attack the doomsday cult unleashed on the Tokyo subway system in 1995. Endo is the ninth member of Aum condemned to hang.

* Guru’s wife — Tomoko Matsumoto, the wife of Shoko Asahara, founder of the Aum Shinrikyo cult, was released Oct. 15 from a prison in Wakayama after completing a six-year term. She plans to live with her children in the Kanto region.

HEAVY TOLL: Japan Highway Public Corp. said Oct. 11 it has collected 259,537 yen in unpaid toll charges and fines for late payment from a Saitama Prefecture man who allegedly ran expressway tollgates 116 times since February. On each occasion, the man handed tollbooth employees a copy of his “freeway declaration” instead of cash.

LONG INNINGS: Japan’s oldest giraffe, Takako, a popular attraction with visitors at Rakujuen National Park, died of old age early Oct. 11 at the park’s zoo in Mishima, Shizuoka Prefecture. Takako died at the age of 26 years and 11 months.

ITCHY FINGERS? Police have arrested a 21-year-old man who had his middle finger bitten off while allegedly trying to rob a woman at her apartment in Nagoya on Oct. 11. The suspect, identified as Yujiro Okada, was apprehended by a police officer while he was having his finger stitched up at a local hospital.

MUDSLIDE: Two men were killed Oct. 12 in a mudslide in Ueno, Mie Prefecture, while they were working on a sewerage project.

BENTO BLUES: Around 200 people in the town of Kurihashi, Saitama Prefecture, were sickened by what appeared to be food poisoning Oct. 12 after eating bento lunches during a town-sponsored field day event. None of the ill were in a serious condition.

DOH! Fukuji Igawa from the city of Higashi-Osaka has been arrested and indicted on suspicion of stealing his own car after it was towed for being illegally parked, police said Oct. 12.

STORMY WATERS: Seven people died Oct. 13 in accidents related to rough water caused by an approaching typhoon on the Pacific side of the Japanese archipelago.

WELCOME BACK: Five Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea in 1978 arrived at Tokyo’s Haneda airport on Oct. 15 and were reunited with their families for the first time since they were kidnapped. The five are Yasushi Chimura, Fukie Hamamoto, Kaoru Hasuike, Yukiko Okudo, and Hitomi Soga.

CANCER DRUG: The health ministry said Oct. 15 it has attributed 13 deaths to use of the anticancer drug gefitinib. The ministry said 26 terminally ill cancer patients developed interstitial pneumonia and other side effects after being administered the drug, with half of them dying.

ART OF NOISE: In a landmark noise-pollution case, the Yokohama District Court ordered the government Oct. 16 to pay about 2.75 billion yen in compensation to 4,935 residents around the Atsugi military base in Kanagawa Prefecture.

CABINET SLEAZE: Former Construction Minister Eiichi Nakao was sentenced Oct. 16 to two years in prison and fined 60 million yen for accepting 60 million yen in bribes from Wakachiku Construction Co. in 1996 while serving as a Cabinet member.

SERIAL RAPIST: Serial rapist Makoto Minagawa was sentenced Oct. 16 to 20 years in prison for attacks on 14 women in Akita and Miyagi prefectures in 1999 and 2000. Minagawa also stole underwear and about 114,000 yen in cash from 11 of the women.