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With its chief invited to the White House for consultations, the UN agency in charge of ferreting out nuclear weapons in Iraq asserted its right to decide who serves on inspection teams. Diplomats said the Baghdad government's statement suggested that Mohamed El Baradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, was worried that he and chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix would face pressure on the subject at a meeting with President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and other administration officials. The US wants the Security Council to pass a resolution to toughen inspections, with "consequences" if Iraq blocks them.

Immigration authorities began interviewing 206 Haitians who dashed ashore near Miami Tuesday, closing a main highway, after their 50-foot wooden boat ran aground. Officials said any who request political asylum will be processed accordingly. The rest will be deported. Members of Miami's Haitian community rallied outside the Immigration and Naturalization Service to demand release of the illegal arrivals, who fled poverty and political instability in their native country.

An estimated 20,000 people, including several top Democrats, attended a Tuesday night tribute – with clear political overtones – to Sen. Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, his wife, and six others killed in a small plane crash Oct. 25. Among them: ex-President Clinton, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, former Vice President Gore, and former Vice President Walter Mondale. Mondale said Wednesday he will accept if asked to serve as Wellstone's replacement on the Nov. 5 ballot.

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Hoping to mend fences with the Bush administration, Germany's foreign minister arrived in Washington for a three-day visit. Joschka Fischer met with Secretary of State Powell and was to have a later session with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. US-German relations soured over Chancelor Gerhard Schröder's strong rhetoric against military strikes on Iraq as he campaigned for reelection in September.

A mistrial was declared in a landmark suit by Rhode Island against the lead paint industry. The jury was unable to reach a decision after four days of deliberations. Lawyers for the state had argued that lead paint made thousands of children ill and threatened public health, nearly a quarter-century after it was banned. Connecticut and West Virginia are among states considering similar lawsuits.

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