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Antiwar protesters gearing up for march

As antiwar protesters began gathering for today's march around the White House and other demonstrations around the globe, dozens of former members of Congress urged the Bush administration to give weapons inspectors more time before taking military action against Iraq.

"Let us pull back from the brink of war and give peaceful solutions a chance to work," said a statement signed by more than 70 former lawmakers, all but four of them Democrats.

The statement was sent Friday to Capitol Hill and the White House.

The former lawmakers cited failing support from traditional allies, concern for innocent Iraqis who may be killed and the potential for more terrorist attacks and instability in the Middle East as reasons for their opposition.

Some also noted the financial burden of waging a war while the deficit grows and spending for domestic programs has to be cut.

Millions of Europeans stopped work for 15 minutes at midday to protest possible war.

In what could be a last-chance effort before war begins, tens of thousands of protesters are expected to converge on Washington to march around the White House on today, and protests are expected in California and overseas.

Poll finds support for war

still sharply mixed

WASHINGTON _ While President Bush has substantial voter support for a war to disarm Saddam Hussein, Americans are so worried about problems war could bring that Bush's support _ and the nation's political balance _ could easily shift, a bipartisan poll finds.

Those sharply mixed feelings suggest that war and its effect on international relations, terrorism and the economy pose considerable political risks for the president, said pollsters who conducted the survey for the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation.

The poll found 47 percent of adults say they support military action to remove Hussein from power and disarm Iraq, even without the full support of the United Nations Security Council. But 37 percent want U.N. support.

Elsewhere . . .

KUWAIT: The United Nations withdrew eight armored personnel carriers carrying international troops from the Kuwait-Iraq border, citing concerns for their safety as tensions rise with the prospect of U.S.-led war.