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WAR IN THE GULF US Defense Secretary Richard Cheney, returning from the Gulf with Gen. Colin Powell, is ready to advise President Bush on the timing of a ground war. ``I think there's a limit to how long we can'' continue with air-power alone, Cheney said. US military officials in Saudi Arabia said ``there are plenty of targets'' left for coalition warplanes.... Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, making his first public address in more than two weeks, praised his people for their strength and assured them ``we will win,'' in a broadcast Sunday on Baghdad Radio.

UNITED STATES

A new book alleges that the US Central Intelligence Agency helped undermine the Iran-contra criminal investigation and bribed officials in Costa Rica. Jeffrey Toobin, a federal prosecutor in New York who worked for Iran-contra special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh from 1987 to 1989, says the CIA bribes led to construction of a remote airstrip used to resupply the Nicaraguan rebels, despite a federal law against aiding the contras. The book, ``Opening Arguments,'' also questions ``stunning memory lapses'' during the hearings.... The average price of a gallon of gas dropped by more than a nickel over the past two weeks, a nationwide survey finds.

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NUCLEAR WEAPONS PLANTS

Congress's Office of Technology Assessment says in a new report that the Energy Department is ``unlikely'' to make quick progress decontaminating its badly polluted nuclear weapons plants. The cleanup effort has failed to establish credibility with the public, does not have adequate cleanup technology or personnel, and has not done the careful risk assessments needed to establish priorities, the analysts say.... The Energy Department announced last week that it plans to shrink the nuclear weapons complex from 13 major plants to as few as eight, because of easing cold-war tensions.

JUSTICE

In South Africa, Winnie Mandela's kidnap and assault trial was halted Monday after the prosecution announced a key witnesses had been kidnapped.... A Chinese court began the trial Monday of dissident economist Chen Ziming, charged with state subversion, ignoring his five-day-old hunger strike launched to gain time for his lawyer to prepare the defense.... In South Korea, three members of parliament - one from the ruling Democratic Liberal Party - were arrested on bribery charges.

ASIA AND THE SOVIET UNION

The Soviet Union, the world's largest oil producer, will be forced to import crude oil within two years unless it can revive its flagging petroleum industry, the Communist Party daily Pravda said Monday.... In Afghanistan, international relief began arriving Monday for the victims of an earthquake and floods that have ravaged the nation over the past 10 days.

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