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Palestinians call peace talks slow

Palestinians expressed growing frustration on Wednesday over the pace of talks with Israel, and what they see as Israel's unwillingness to grant concessions. They warned that the current truce could be in jeopardy if progress is not achieved soon on crucial issues such as Palestinian prisoner releases and Israeli troop withdrawals.

Israel said those issues remained open for discussion and emphasized that it was the Palestinians who canceled a planned meeting Wednesday between Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas.

At the same time, the United States tried to nudge the peace effort forward by announcing plans to send aid to the Palestinian Authority.

Canada to provide pot to patients

TORONTO _ The Canadian government announced on Wednesday an interim plan that will regularly provide marijuana to several hundred people who are authorized to use the drug for medical reasons.

The plan, which will distribute the drug through doctors, comes six weeks after the federal government introduced a bill decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Ban on fox hunting advances in Britain

LONDON _ Britain's hotly debated legislation to ban fox hunting cleared the House of Commons on Wednesday while hunt supporters protested noisily in front of the Houses of Parliament.

Demonstrators assembled outside as legislators approved the Hunting Bill by a vote of 317-145. The bill now goes to the House of Lords, where prohunting peers are likely to fight it.

Twins' bodies prepared for flight home

SINGAPORE _ A dozen women in black headscarves washed Ladan and Laleh Bijani's bodies and tenderly wrapped them in long strips of white cotton in preparation Wednesday for the flight home to Iran.

The 29-year-olds, who were born joined at the head, hoped to live separate lives but died Tuesday during surgery to separate them. Hundreds mourned as their bodies were prepared to be sent back to Tehran early today in separate caskets.

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