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Dismissing the assassination threats that have dogged him on his Asian tour, Pope John Paul II greeted thousands of ecstatic followers in Papua, New Guinea today, standing in the back of a white pickup truck under a blazing sun. Warriors in feathered headdresses chanted and beat drums, while the crowd blew whistles and applauded the pontiff. About one-third of New Guinea's 3.9 million people are Catholic. On Wednesday, the Pope will travel to Australia, and then will continue to Sri Lanka, most of whose people are Buddhists, before heading home to Vatican City.