Futures prices for crude oil appeared likely to close below $90 a barrel Monday for the first time in eight months in the global fallout over banking bailouts and the turmoil in equity markets. For November delivery, US light, sweet crude, the benchmark in oil trading, was down 4.25 percent at midday in Europe, to $89.89 a barrel – a level not seen since early February.
Taliban leaders have split with Al Qaeda and are in talks with Afghanistan's government on an accommodation there, CNN reported Monday. Citing an unidentified source close to the matter, it said four days of discussions have been held in Saudi Arabia, with King Abdullah as host, and that a second round is expected within 60 days. The source said both sides perceive a stalemate in Afghanistan, with the government believing that the Taliban can't be defeated militarily and the militants acknowledging that they can't win by fighting NATO forces.
Registration opened Monday for next year's presidential election in Afghanistan, amid Taliban warnings that those participating were "wasting their time." The militant organization, which has vowed to boycott the vote, is blamed for a 30 percent increase in violence this year over 2007 in eastern provinces alone. The Taliban did not disrupt Afghanistan's election for president in 2004 or for parliament the following year.
Leftist President Evo Morales of Bolivia announced that the nation's general election will be held next June, a year and a half ahead of schedule. He told a meeting of socialist allies he's confident of victory in a referendum in December on his proposed new constitution. He also predicted that voters would give him "an absolute majority" in parliament to make "implementing the new constitution much easier." Meanwhile, he and state governors who oppose his agenda ended their latest round of talks Sunday without a breakthrough. No date was set for a resumption of the dialogue.
Awarding this year's Nobel Peace Prize to either of two Chinese dissidents would "hurt the feelings" of their nation, the government in Beijing warned Monday.Gao Zhisheng and Hu Jia are seen as top nominees for the prize, whose recipient is to be announced Friday. But the Foreign Ministry said honoring either or both would "challenge the original purpose" of the award, which should go to someone who "truly contributed" to peace. Amid the controversy, the Nobel Prize for medicine was shared Monday by French AIDS researchers Luc Montagnier and Françoise Barre-Sinoussi and Harald zur Hausen, a German cervical cancer specialist.
Police beat and tear-gassed dozens of antigovernment protesters who defied a ban on public gatherings in Mauritania's capital Sunday night to demand the reinstatement of deposed President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi. Abdallahi, the nation's first democratically elected leader in more than two decades, was toppled in a military coup Aug. 6. The junta that replaced him said the ban on rallies is necessary for security reasons.
A "job-search center" will be opened in Mali's capital to try to stem the tide of Africans desperate for employment in Europe, reports said Monday. A pilot project of the European Union, the center is aimed at raising awareness of the dangers of illegal immigration as well as helping Africans, most of them young men, to find legal work on the Continent. The reports did not say when it will begin functioning.
As many as 102 people were killed on either side of the border between Tibet and the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan when a powerful earthquake struck the region Monday, followed by a strong aftershock. The Emergencies Ministry of Kyrgyzstan said dozens of others were injured there, many of them seriously. The initial quake had a magnitude of 6.6, seismologists said.