Restoration of electricity to Iraq's capital appeared to be another day away, but a convoy of UN food aid arrived there, and US marines were turning over the job of maintaining order to Army units and a resurgent local police force. The retired US general charged with supervising Iraq's reconstruction, Jay Garner, is expected in Baghdad today for his first look at his task. Meanwhile, Jordanian customs reported confiscating 42 paintings believed stolen last week from Iraq's national museum. They had been in the posession of unidentified travelers stopped at the border.

Iraqis without entry visas were banned from Syria in another apparent move to try to meet US concerns over harboring fugitives and banned weapons. Two US members of Congress, leaving a meeting with President Bashar al-Assad, said he appeared eager "to pursue, in the right direction, what we all want to see: [a] nuclear and chemical weapons-free area and advancement of the peace process."

Emergency discussions were in their second day among senior Palestinians in the West Bank after Prime Minister-designate Mahmoud Abbas threatened to quit in a dispute with President Yasser Arafat. Abbas angrily left a meeting in which Arafat blocked his choice for interior minister, insisting that the incumbent keep the job. Arafat also rejected a compromise in which Abbas would have taken the post himself and reduced his nominee's rank to deputy.

Early returns from Saturday's crucial presidential election in Nigeria showed a tighter-than-expected race between incumbent Olusegun Obasanjo and his closest challenger. Muhammadu Buhari, one of three ex-Army generals in the field and a Muslim, had 54 percent of the vote, to 41.8 percent for Oba-sanjo, a Christian who's seeking a second four-year term. It was not clear how soon a final tally would be announced.

In its toughest moves to date in combating SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), China's government canceled the annual May Day celebrations, fired its health minister and the mayor of Beijing, and warned of harsh penalties for anyone caught covering up or delaying release of information on new cases. But the official Xinhua News Agency also reported 12 more deaths due to the illness, along with another 7 in Hong Kong.

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