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With US forces conducting mopping-up operations in Fallujah, the cities of Baquba and Mosul appeared to be the latest threats to stability in Iraq. Mosul was experiencing its fifth straight day of violence (above, an oil storage tank outside the city burns after being sabotaged), and a senior US commander called the situation there "tense," although not desperate. In Baquba and a neighboring town, meanwhile, nine Iraqis were killed and 15 other people, among them four American soldiers, were hurt in heavy fighting with insurgents.

Beginning next Monday, Iran will suspend activities that could contribute to the production of nuclear weapons, the government announced. But it informed the UN's Inernational Atomic Energy Agency that the halt would be temporary while negotiators hammer out terms of economic, technical, and other forms of cooperation with European governments on its nuclear program.

The kidnappers of three UN elections officials in Afghan-istan said they were deciding whether to kill them after rejecting suggestions that their freedom could be bought by the interim government. The Jaish-e Muslimeen also vowed to have no further contact with the government unless "we receive any invitation ... to talk." The militants, a Taliban splinter group, are demanding release of 26 Taliban from US custody.

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Frightened Westerners had new options for fleeing Ivory Coast after commercial air service resumed over the weekend, even though the final evacuation flight organized by France took off Monday. French planes have carried more than 5,000 people to safety amid the resumption of fighting between government troops and rebel forces. Meanwhile, the UN Security Council was to vote on an arms embargo and other sanctions against Ivory Coast's government late Monday.

The political party that ruled Mexico uninterrupted for 71 years won two more races for governor in state elections Sunday. Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) gubernatorial candidates also led in two other races that were too close to call. With easy victories in Tamulipas and Puebla, the PRI now has won six state elections this year and eight of the last 12. The PRI lost its grip on power four years ago to President Vicente Fox and his National Action Party. Fox's term ends in 2006, and he is ineligible to succeed himself.

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