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In a "confidence-building measure," Israel freed 61 Palestinians from its jails as Secretary of State Powell shuttled between meetings with their respective prime ministers. But in discussing the US-backed "road map" to peace, Powell pointedly met with new Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas in a West Bank hotel 20 miles from where Yasser Arafat is under virtual Israeli house arrest. Powell said he believes Abbas "understands that terror must be brought to an end." But many Palestinians, angered at the symbolism in shutting Arafat out of the process, closed their businesses in protest.

Saddam Hussein's Baath Party stands "dissolved" under an order by US Gen. Tommy Franks read over radio in Arabic across Iraq Sunday. The order, issued one month to the day after the fall of Baghdad, requires Iraqis to deliver to coalition authorities any materials in their possession related to the party or its operations. The Baathists had controlled virtually all of Iraqi society since 1963, 16 years before Hussein rose to power. He and other senior party officials remain unaccounted for, however.

A Muslim radical who laughed with delight at the terrorist explosions that killed more than 200 people last Oct. 12 on the Indonesian island of Bali is to go on trial Monday for his role in the crime. Amrozi bin Nuyrhas-yim is the first of six main suspects charged in the case. He is accused of providing the van and much of the explosive material that was packed inside it. If convicted, he faces execution.

Muslim rebels with ties to Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for a terrorist bomb explosion in the southern Philippines Saturday that killed at least 13 people and hurt dozens more. Abu Sayyaf, better known for its kidnaping-for-profit tactics, said it organized the attack in Koronadal and warned there would be more. But some senior government officials appeared to dispute the claim, blaming the explosion instead on another Muslim group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Under pressure, the governor-general of Australia agreed to a leave of absence from his post so he can contest allegations that he raped a woman in the 1960s. Peter Hollingsworth, who was a minister at the time, has denied the accusation. Analysts called the situation a major embarrassment for pro-monarchy Prime Minister John Howard, who recommended Hollingsworth's appointment two years ago, and said it could help intensify the campaign to declare Australia a republic with a president.

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