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Finding skilled Iraqis to run the nation's vital institutions is proving difficult, US civilian administrator Jay Garner told journalists in Baghdad. He spoke as hundreds of doctors refused to accept the US-appointed chief of the Health Ministry because of his ties to Saddam Hussein's regime. Garner also was meeting with Foreign Ministry holdovers on reviving that agency. He asked for patience because, by and large, Iraq's most capable people were members of Hussein's Baath Party. Meanwhile, at the local level, a Los Angeles Police Department officer puts Iraqi trainees through a riot-control drill in Kerbala.

Special US envoy Richard Armitage was due in Pakistan's capital for the start of a new diplomatic mission, just as recurring doubts arose over that government's recent overtures with rival India. Despite reciprocal efforts to thaw relations, India's ruling party said Pakis-tan still wasn't addressing "cross-border terrorism" in Kashmir.

A familiar stumbling block resurfaced in relations between Israel and the Palestinians, as the latter's new prime minister refused to drop the demand that 4 million refugees or their descendants be allowed to return to homes inside the Jewish state. "It is not my right to drop it," Mahmoud Abbas said. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has insisted that the so-called "right of return" be renounced well before the two sides reach the final phase of negotiations on a permanent peace.

A manhunt was under way for 19 suspected terrorists in Saudi Arabia's capital after police discovered a plot to attack unspecified targets in the kingdom. A cache of disguises, guns, grenades, and other explosives also was found. Seventeen of the men were identified as Saudis. Another is an Iraqi with a Canadian passport. Elsewhere, a terrorist bomb killed a visitor at the home of a Christian missionary couple in Tripoli, Lebanon.

A key section of the tough new law restricting freedom of the press in Zimbabwe was struck down by the Supreme Court. The justices acted on a provision that made publication of "falsehoods" punishable by heavy fines or up to two years in jail after President Robert Mugabe's government acknowledged that the provision was unconstitutional. The law took effect 13 months ago after Mugabe's controversial reelection.

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