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Representatives of South Korea and North Korea met Monday for their first talks in 10 months. In trying to coax the North back into disarmament negotiations, Seoul told the North Koreans that they'd raised concerns last week about a possible nuclear test by claiming to have completed the removal of spent fuel rods from a reactor at their main nuclear complex. That spurred public warnings by US and Japanese officials. Seoul promised a new "substantial proposal" if the North returns to six-nation talks, including the US, Russia, China, and Japan, but declined to elaborate on the proposal.

Iraq's new government vowed Monday to crack down on the killers of more than 40 people whose bodies were found over the weekend. Batches of bodies, many blindfolded, bound, and shot multiple times, were found in various locations, from a rubbish-strewn lot in Baghdad's Sadr City to a chicken farm south of the capital in a region dubbed the Triangle of Death. Amid the rampant violence, US and Iraqi forces detained 38 suspected militants in raids Sunday and Monday in Baghdad and Kirkuk.

Provisional results weren't expected in Ethiopia's election, which had a stunning turnout of 90 percent, until this weekend and final results won't be available until June 8. Opposition politicians complained of irregularities and threatened to reject the results, leading the prime minister to ban demonstrations and put the capital's police under his direct command. But Sunday's vote was peaceful, and international observers - allowed to monitor voting here for the first time - believe opposition candidates may make significant gains in the federal parliament.

Sporadic shooting continued Monday in an eastern Uzbek city where an uprising sparked a crackdown by security forces that left up to 500 people dead, according to media accounts. The spreading unrest is the worst in Uzbekistan since the country gained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

In a surprise move, Kuwait's cabinet asked parliament Monday to debate and vote on a bill giving women full political rights. The all-male house approved the request despite opposition from Muslim fundamentalist lawmakers, and was expected to vote on the bill later in the day. Women activists have objected to a compromise bill that would allow women the right to run and vote only in municipal elections.

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