Germany opens Holocaust memorial on anniversary

BERLIN - Germany dedicated its new national Holocaust memorial Tuesday with a rabbi's prayer for the dead and a survivor's plea for reconciliation, but disagreement surfaced even at its opening over how to remember the 6 million Jews killed under the Nazis.

Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder joined Jewish leaders and hundreds of other dignitaries in opening the memorial, a one-block-square undulating field of more than 2,700 charcoal-colored concrete slabs meant to evoke the helplessness of the Holocaust's victims.

Backers had insisted on a place in the heart of reunited Berlin, a block from the Brandenburg Gate and near where Adolf Hitler holed up in his bunker at the end of World War II. The opening was timed to coincide with this month's 60th anniversary of Nazi Germany's surrender.

Pope Benedict presses ahead with busy schedule

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI is pressing ahead with a busy schedule of ceremonies and travel, indicating that concern over his age and health - including reports he has suffered at least two strokes - isn't slowing him down.

The 78-year-old Benedict has set a grueling pace for himself, keeping up Pope John Paul II's twice-weekly appearances to the faithful and meeting with heads of state and visiting bishops. Last week, he traveled outside Rome for the first time as pope to formally take possession of the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo.

Bush administration urges China to try to reopen talks

WASHINGTON - Faced with an extended stalemate, the Bush administration has asked China to redouble its efforts to lure North Korea back to negotiations on its nuclear weapons.

The appeal, disclosed by a State Department official on condition of anonymity, reflects a growing frustration over North Korea's refusal to reopen six-nation talks for nearly a year and rhetoric from Pyongyang that administration officials consider alarming.

Last week, U.S. officials said spy satellites show possible preparations for North Korea's first-ever nuclear weapons test, including the digging and refilling of a hole at a suspected test site in northeastern Gilju.

More triumphs for hard-liners in Northern Ireland

BELFAST, Northern Ireland - Hard-liners on both sides of Northern Ireland's divide rolled to more victories in results for elections to local councils.

With all 582 seats in Northern Ireland's 26 councils declared from Thursday's vote, the opposite poles of politics - the British Protestants of the Democratic Unionists, and the Irish Catholics of Sinn Fein - finished far ahead of their moderate rivals.

Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionists won 182 seats, up 52 from the last council vote in 2001, while Sinn Fein won 126, an 18-seat increase. The moderate Protestants of the Ulster Unionist Party won 115, 40 less than last time, while the moderate Catholics of the Social Democratic and Labour Party won 101, a loss of 16 seats. Smaller parties or independents won the rest.

U.S. forces push toward Syrian border

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Hundreds of U.S. Marines pushed through a lawless region on the Syrian frontier Tuesday after battling past well-armed militants fighting from basements, rooftops and sandbag bunkers. Insurgents kidnapped the provincial

governor as a bargaining

chip.

As many as 100 insurgents were killed in the first 48 hours of Operation Matador, as American troops cleared villages along the meandering Euphrates then crossed in rafts and on a pontoon bridge, the U.S. command said. Many of the dead remained trapped under rubble after attack planes and helicopter gunships pounded their hideouts.

At least three Marines were reported killed and 20 wounded during the first three days of the offensive.

Bush hails democracy, urges peace around globe

TBILISI, Georgia - Cheered by tens of thousands in a former Soviet republic, President Bush urged the spread of democracy Tuesday across the former communist world and beyond, declaring that oppressed people ''are demanding their freedom and they shall have it.''

Bush said that Georgia, where the peaceful Rose Revolution in 2003 sparked a domino effect of governmental change in the region, was inspiring democratic reformers around the world. ''Freedom will be the future of every nation and every people on Earth,'' he said.

The president's words were likely to irritate Moscow, which already complains the United States is meddling in Russia's backyard. Russia had objected to Bush's stop here and in Latvia, another former Soviet republic. The two countries boycotted Monday's V-E celebration.

- From wire reports