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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.

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