Maneuvering into position for their crackdown on terrorism in Fallujah, Iraq, US forces surrounded and imposed a curfew on the city and announced they had won an arrest warrant for radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr from an Iraqi court. Al-Sadr will be detained without "advance warning," a spokes-man said. Al-Sadr was declared "an outlaw" by US administrator Paul Bremer after his followers went on a rampage in Baghdad and four other cities that extended into Monday morning, killing at least 52 people, eight of them Americans. Despite the violence, President Bush said he's committed to the June 30 transfer to Iraqis of responsibility for their own affairs.
In another attempt to put to rest lingering suspicions about Iran's nuclear program, International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei is due in Tehran Tuesday to seek "accelerated cooperation" from the government. His trip is a reflection, as a diplomat familiar with the matter put it, of "a growing feeling that the Iranians are playing games instead of honoring pledges" to disclose fully the extent of their nuclear activities. In an inspection in February, for example, IAEA experts complained that they were forced to test for traces of enriched uranium with Iranian equipment instead of their own.
Firing back at critics in his own cabinet, Israeli Prime Minister Sharon told interviewers he'll seal the Gaza Strip after withdrawing Jewish settlements and the troops who defend them. Afterward, he suggested, Israeli-supplied water and electricity to Palestinians in Gaza may be cut in the event of a major terrorist attack. Sharon also backed off his pledge not to harm Yasser Arafat, whom "everyone knows is the obstacle" to peace. In Sharon's cabinet meeting Sunday, some ministers angrily demanded an immediate vote on his plans for Gaza.
A new challenge to last month's disputed presidential election in Taiwan was filed by losing candidate Lien Chen. He asked the Supreme Court to nullify the outcome and order a new vote. Earlier, he'd asked the justices to order a recount after the final tally showed incumbent Chen Shui-bian winning by fewer than 30,000 votes out of 13 million cast. Lien also is seeking an independent task force to investigate the election eve wounding of Chen and Vice President Annette Lu by a sniper, arguing that because of the incident soldiers and police were put on high alert and couldn't vote.
Tamil separatists warned they would resume their violent campaign for statehood in Sri Lanka if the new government does not meet their sovereignty demands. Following last weekend's election, President Chandrika Kumaratunga was embroiled in a dispute within her own party over whom to install as prime minister, delaying consideration of political solutions to the Tamil problem. Peace talks have been on hold for a year, and Kumaratunga doesn't hide her mistrust of the separatists. Norwegian mediators brokered a truce between the two sides, but later withdrew because of her power struggle with outgoing Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe over his efforts to reach a peace deal.