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It's going to be "extremely difficult" to find the banned Iraqi weapons that the US and Britain insisted Saddam Hussein had before the war, an unidentified senior British official told Reuters news agency. The ousted regime has "either hidden, destroyed, or dismantled them," he said. A spokesman for British Prime Minister Tony Blair disputed that, saying Blair has "absolute confidence" that evidence of weapons will turn up eventually. The government has come under intense criticism over the accuracy of intelligence data on Iraq.

North Korea is prepared for "both war and dialogue" in the dispute over its revived nuclear program, a North Korean envoy said during a visit to Seoul, South Korea. Repeating a call for direct talks with the US, Kim Ryong Song said that while his government prefers a peaceful resolution, "if outside forces ... try to use force, we will face them boldly." His comments came a day after South Korea said the North was reprocessing spent nuclear-fuel rods, a step toward attaining nuclear weapons.

The government of Burundi declared a nationwide curfew as fighting continued for a fourth day in the capital, Bujumbura. At least four civilians were reported killed during battles between the Tutsi-led army and ethnic Hutu rebels, and there were an undetermined number of military casualties.

A Russian security officer was killed trying to defuse a bomb outside a cafe in central Moscow, the second deadly incident in less than a week to hit the Russian capital. Security services detained a Chechen woman found with the device in her handbag. Twin blasts at a rock concert Saturday left 16 people dead, including the two female bombers, in an attack blamed on separatists from the southern Chechnya region.

The Solomon Islands parliament gave preliminary approval for an Australia-led intervention force to restore order in the Pacific island nation, with final ratification expected next week. Conflict among rival factions has left the economy near collapse and clashes last month claimed dozens of lives.

In a highly visible step toward improved relations, rivals India and Pakistan resume bus service Friday between their two countries. The 12-hour service linking New Delhi and Lahore, Pakistan was suspended 18 months ago.

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