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Iraq's government backed away from suggestions that ousted dictator Saddam Hussein would be tried within weeks. No "fixed date" has been set, aides to Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari said. The Special Tribunal set up to bring members of Hussein's regime to justice also disputed reports that only 12 charges would be lodged against him. Meanwhile, in an apparent first, a leading Sunni politician told the Associated Press he has been in contact with two "resistance" organizations - the term used by many Iraqis to refer to terrorist groups - that want to open negotiations with the government with the aim of disarming and joining the political process. He identified them as the Islamic Army in Iraq and the Mujahi-deen Army. His claim could not be verified.

A senior Islamic Jihad leader, the object of an Israeli manhunt, died resisting arrest in the West Bank city of Jenin. Another Palestinian also was killed in a gunfight that lasted for hours; five more were wounded. In the Gaza Strip, Hamas claimed responsibility for a mortar attack on a soon-to-be-evacuated Jewish settlement that killed two employees of a greenhouse and hurt five others. None of the victims were Israelis.

The number of people hurt or arrested rose into the hundreds as police in Ethiopia's capital broke up a second day of protests against last month's disputed national election. At least one protester died in the confrontations. Demonstrations are banned. The voting, which left parliament in the hands of the ruling People's Revolutionary Front, was called "the most genuinely competitive" in the nation's history by European Union monitors, but opposition parties allege widespread fraud.

For the second time in three months, beleaguered Bolivian President Carlos Mesa offered to quit, telling the nation: "This is as far as I go." The move requires the OK of Congress, which rejected his previous offer. The offer came Monday night as tens of thousands of protesters extended the daily roadblocks that have all but shut down the capital, La Paz, demanding a greater share of the nation's oil and gas wealth.

All websites and blogs based in China were ordered to register with the communist government by month's end or be fined $120,000 and closed. With about 87 million Internet users, China has found it hard to keep tabs on online activity, particularly by bloggers, who post their opinions for others to read. But the Information Industry Ministry said it has developed a new system to track them.

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