Iraq has delivered a blunt warning to neighboring Syria, Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said: "Don't think you can benefit from our difficulties." But he said his government would not retaliate for attempts to subvert its democratic process until a constitutional government is in place in Baghdad. Zebari said Syria has been trying to destabilize Iraq because it "feels threatened" by the prospect of democracy taking root in a neighboring country. He echoed the words of US Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad, who earlier said the US is running out of patience with Syria for continuing to allow its territory to be used by terrorists infiltrating Iraq.

Immediate steps will be taken to impose order in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said in a televised address, although his security police have done little to stop the looting of former Jewish settlements. His security chief ordered the border between Gaza and Egypt closed as of Wednesday night, giving Palestinians only a few more hours to shop for cheap goods in Egyptian stores. For their part, however, Egyptian officials had yet to say when they'd clamp down on the border crossing, perhaps to encourage as many Palestinians as possible to relocate to Gaza permanently.

Prospects appeared uncertain at best that UN negotiators could agree on a blueprint for sweeping reform before the General Assembly convenes Wednesday for its annual summit. Among the sticking points: the aim of Western governments to impose tight auditing standards on the UN's budget, which is opposed by developing nations.

White-owned businesses that do not cooperate with President Robert Mugabe's government stand to be seized "just like we did during the land-reform exercise," a senior official in Zimbabwe was quoted as saying. Transport and Communications Minister Christopher Mushohwe complained at a meeting of industrial executives that "Most of these companies do not want to give us equity," even though the government stepped in to protect them three years ago in confrontations with militant Mugabe supporters. Zimbabwe's economy has been in free-fall since the government began seizing white-owned farms for redistribution to blacks in 2000. The inflation rate reached 265 percent last month, according to official statistics.

Right-of-center Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik of Norway announced his resignation after voters ousted his government in Monday's election. Bondevik said he'd stay on in a caretaker capacity until the socialist- environmentalist coalition of former Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg can divide up the cabinet posts. Stoltenberg told TV interviewers that he plans to invest more of the nation's oil revenues in welfare programs.

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