Members of Iraq's first freely elected parliament in 50 years accepted their oaths of office in an opening day that was largely ceremonial. Interim President Ghazi al-Yawer, a Sunni Muslim, told the legislators: "There are no winners or losers among us; we either all win or we all lose. Let's unify our goals." No agreement was reached on a national government, but Shiite and Kurdish negotiators said they hoped to finalize its makeup Thursday.

Israeli and Palestinian commanders shook hands on the outskirts of Jericho as the Jewish state yielded control of the town - the first of five on the West Bank scheduled for a handover as tensions between the two sides ease. Jericho has remained mostly calm during the latest Palestinian intifada. Bethlehem, Ramallah, Tulkarm, and Qalqilya are expected to follow once the Palestinian Authority demonstrates an ability to keep terrorism in check.

Leaving behind empty jail cells where Lebanese once were detained, Syrian intelligence officers appeared to be ending their 18-year presence in Beirut. Moving in behind them, Lebanon's security personnel posted notices inviting former residents of the buildings to initiate proceedings to recover their property. Meanwhile, reappointed pro-Syrian Prime Minister Omar Karami announced a new attempt to recruit political opponents for a new unity government, but admitted the task would be difficult. He also asked both sides of the political divide to stop holding competing street rallies.

In a new boost to peace prospects with nuclear rival India, Pakistan's president confirmed that he accepted an invitation to attend a cricket match between teams of the two nations in New Delhi next month. Pervez Musharraf last visited India four years ago. His family is expected to accompany him.

For the second time in two weeks, Bolivia's political future hung in the balance as President Carlos Mesa asked Congress to schedule an early national election. But indications were that the request would be rejected as unconstitutional. His term is not due to end until 2007, but he has complained that seemingly unending public protests over his energy policies have "blocked all my possibilities to advance." Last week, Mesa offered his resignation, but Congress rejected it.

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