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In another statement issued in the name of Saddam Hussein, Iraqi troops whose units have been decimated by US or British forces were ordered to link up with any other, while civilian Baghdad residents were banned from leaving the capital between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. But US field commanders said their forces were "just about there" in controling all access to Baghdad. And in its daily news briefing, the US Central Command said as many as 3,000 Iraqi defenders were killed in Saturday's initial probe of the city by an armored unit.

On the northern front, however, a "friendly fire" incident was blamed for the deaths of at least 12 Kurdish fighters. Another 45 were hurt, among them a brother of Kurdish Democratic Party leader Massoud Barzani. It was not immediately clear whether US Special Forces personnel were among the casualties. Their convoy was bombed by US planes by mistake after calling for close air support in fighting with Iraqi defenders.

Three Palestinian witnesses for the prosecution refused to cooperate as the murder trial of militant leader Marwan Barghouti opened in Tel Aviv. The onetime chief of Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement in the West Bank is charged with complicity in the deaths of 26 Israelis in terrorist attacks. But he has rejected the court's jurisdiction and maintains that Palestinians have the right to use force in resisting Israeli control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Communist North Korea will ignore any resolution emerging from the UN Security Council on its suspected nuclear weapons program, the government said. The Security Council is to take up the issue Wednesday, a factor that North Korea's news agency called "a prelude to war." It ridiculed the council as having "lost its mandate" by failing to prevent war in Iraq, which, it added, proved that not even a nonaggression treaty with the US could resolve the nuclear issue peacefully.

Police and Army troops were searching for escapees from a prison farm in northern Honduras after a fight between rival gangs turned into a riot. At least 86 people died. Dozens of others were hurt, many of them seriously. Prison directors were suspended, pending an official investigation.

A secret four-day seminar on pedophilia ended Saturday in the Vatican, an official statement acknowledged. It said therapists and academicians from the US, Canada, and Germany discussed the medical and psychiatric aspects of the problem with senior Vatican officials. The Roman Catholic Church still is dealing with the furor over sex-abuse scandals involving priests, although it appeared to peak last year.

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