Saddam Hussein and 11 others who held senior posts in his regime were read their rights in the Iraqi court that will try them for war crimes. Hussein, for whom Iraq assumed legal custody Wednesday, sought permission to ask about his legal status. He was told to wait until his formal arraignment Thursday, although one of his attorneys said the ex-dictator would refuse to acknowledge the authority of any court under Iraq's interim government. The government said his trial would be televised live and pledged that it would be fair.

Even at the risk of weakening Israel's security, much of the controversial system of walls and fencing being erected in the West Bank must be rerouted, the Supreme Court ordered. Prime Minister Sharon's government said it would obey the ruling. The justices found that the barrier "injures local [Palestinians] in a severe and acute way, while violating their rights under humanitarian ... law" - wording that analysts said almost certainly indicates that other sections will be ordered moved later. Wednesday's decision affects a 25-mile stretch northwest of Jerusalem that would separate residents of eight Palestinian villages from their cropland and orchards.

The Taliban vigorously denied responsibility for two terrorist explosions in Afghanistan that wounded 27 people in a Jalalabad marketplace - the second time in five days the city has been targeted. But the radical former regime said it captured a woman identified as an Australian TV journalist. The earlier attack in Jalalabad killed two women working to register voters for the September election. A day later, Taliban gunmen shot to death 16 people aboard a bus after finding that they carried registration cards.

Despite a forecast of intense heat, hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong residents are expected to join a protest march Thursday for democratic reforms. It is aimed at creating a contrast with official ceremonies marking the seventh anniversary of the return of the former British colony to Chinese rule. But doubters said the turnout may be limited by discouragement over the emphatic way in which the Beijing government announced in April that it alone will decide when, if ever, Hong Kong may have a say in its political future.

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