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About 100 Kurdish rebels are trapped along the border with Iraq, Turkey's state news agency reported Monday, and a senior military officer said his men are "awaiting the order for an operation." Turkey, with the second-largest defense force in NATO, has massed an estimated 100,000 troops along the border, backed by tanks, combat aircraft, and artillery. Iraq's foreign minister conceded that nothing can stop Turkey from launching cross-border operations. But he warned of "disastrous consequences" for stability if it did.

Hundreds more noncombatants fled the Swat Valley in northeastern Pakistan Monday, taking advantage of a newly announced cease-fire between government forces and militant followers of a pro-Taliban cleric. The militants, however, were still using loudspeakers to call for holy war, reliable sources said. Fighting between the two sides has killed at least 100 people since late last week and turned a onetime tourist destination into a war zone.

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A long-running feud between the president and prime minister of Somalia's transitional government apparently ended Monday with the latter's resignation. Ali Mohamed Gedi (l.) was accused of failing to deal effectively with militant Islamists who lost control of the capital, Mogadishu, but have continued to attack government targets. Gedi has been criticized for being behind the decision to ask troops from Ethiopia to protect the interim government from the militants. Many Somalis now see the continued presence of the troops mainly as a source of tension.

Plans for a "horrifying terror attack" by radical Islamists against government targets and foreign diplomatic missions in Azerbaijan have been thwarted, the security ministry announced Monday. It said a key to the plot was an Army officer who'd stolen automatic weapons and hand grenades to be used by the attackers. The US and British embassies either closed or scaled back their missions in response to the plot, as did foreign oil companies operating there.

To extend Egypt's oil and gas reserves for future generations, President Hosni Mubarak said his government plans to build "several" nuclear power plants. He called energy "an integral part of Egypt's national security system" and said the defunct Supreme Council for Peaceful Purposes of Nuclear Power would be reestablished to direct the program. The UN's International Atomic Energy Agency and "our international partners" will be asked to help in building the plants, he said.

Efforts to reach a compromise with communists on a new political system for Nepal failed, and after a two-week delay parliament resumed consideration of a demand to abolish the monarchy. The communists, who pulled out of the interim ruling coalition last month, are demanding immediate declaration of a republic to thwart efforts by King Gyanendra's supporters to undermine next year's election for a new legislature. Above, police push a student protester away from in front of parliament in Kathmandu.

A onetime carpenter drew the harshest sentence possible under Russian law – life in prison, plus psychiatric treatment – for serial murders that he'd planned to equal the number of spaces on a chessboard: 64. Alexander Pichushkin boasted of coming within four deaths of his goal, but he was tried for 48 because prosecutors lacked evidence to lodge charges on the rest. His trial over the past five weeks has been a focus of international attention.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he expects to continue working without impairment as he undergoes treatment for cancer "over the next few months." The announcement Monday came as Israel prepares for a US-sponsored peace conference with the Palestinians next month or in December. Olmert, who rose to power after illness incapacitated Prime Minister Ariel Sharon early last year, also confronts a series of corruption investigations.


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