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Two Koreas agree to resume relations

South Korea is sending a presidential envoy to North Korea next week to discuss improving relations, the rival nations said today, moving to resume dialogue and ease tensions in one of the world's most militarized regions.

The joint statement marks a resumption of reconciliation on the Korean peninsula, which stalled last year after President Bush focused criticism on the North's communist regime.

Iraq offers to talk about

U.S. pilot shot down in '91

BAGHDAD, Iraq _ Iraq said Sunday that it is ready to receive a U.S. delegation to discuss the fate of an American pilot shot down over Iraq during the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

"Iraq is ready to receive any American team, accompanied by U.S. media, in order to discuss and document this issue under the supervision of the International Committee of the Red Cross," a Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a statement.

In Washington, Vice President Dick Cheney said on CBS's Face the Nation that he was unaware of the Iraqi offer and would want to "see whether or not this is a serious proposition or whether Saddam Hussein is simply trying to change the subject."

Survivors of missionary

flight may get $8-million

WASHINGTON _ The Bush administration has proposed paying $8-million to the survivors of a missionary plane that was misidentified as a possible drug-smuggling flight and shot down in April by a Peruvian jet.

An American missionary and her infant daughter were killed.

The request was made last week in President Bush's supplemental spending proposal, which Congress must approve.

Also . . .

WOMAN TO LEAD PARTY: The top female politician in Mexico history was tentatively declared the winner Sunday of last week's chaotic elections to lead the country's third-largest political party. A spokesman for the Democratic Revolution Party said results released from 21 of Mexico's 31 states showed "a tendency in favor of Rosario Robles."

AUSTRALIAN PROTESTS: Up to 30,000 people around Australia rallied Sunday to protest against the government's policy of detaining asylum seekers, police and government officials said. More than 15,000 protesters lined streets around Melbourne Town Hall to hear speakers ask for an end to mandatory detention.