World

French President Jacques Chirac called the US "our eternal ally" at Sunday ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of the D-Day invasion on the beaches of Normandy. He and President Bush joined in laying a wreath at the US cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, where 9,387 US soldiers are buried. Later, Chirac was to decorate 16 veterans from nearly a dozen nations with the Legion of Honor, France's most prestigious award, for their role in liberating France and helping to bring World War II to a close.

In another ceremony, at Utah Beach, Queen Elizabeth thanked Canadian soldiers for their sacrifices in capturing that key site.

Past and present world leaders responded to the news of President Reagan's death with special praise for his role in bringing down communism and ending Europe's cold war division. Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, whom Reagan once challenged to tear down the Berlin Wall, said Reagan "set himself a task to remain in history as a peacemaker." In the harshest dissent, Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafii, who was accused of supporting terrorism and was isolated by the Reagan administration, was critical of 1986 airstrikes on Libya that Washington said were fomented by Libyan acts.

Two roadside bomb explosions killed 11 people in Baghdad over the weekend, including five US soldiers. Despite the attacks, tensions have eased in the Shiite holy cities of Najaf and Kufa after US troops, who have been fighting gunmen loyal to Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, agreed to allow Iraqi police to take over security. On Sunday, the US military freed more detainees from Abu Ghraib prison. The release was the fourth since the prisoner-abuse scandal broke in April.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's cabinet appeared set to approve a watered-down version of his Gaza pullout plan on Sunday, two days after he fired two cabinet ministers who opposed the plan. Also on Sunday, an Israeli court handed down five consecutive life sentences for murder to Palestinian revolt leader Marwan Barghouthi, who is seen as a possible successor to Yasser Arafat. Barghouthi denies involvement in five murders committed by militants in his Fatah faction.

As part of his first trip in nine months, Pope John Paul II celebrated an open-air mass attended by tens of thousands of worshippers in Bern, Switzerland. The mass occurred two days after a Vatican meeting with President Bush, in which he condemned abuse of Iraqi prisoners and urged a swift return of the Iraq's sovereignty.

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