World

The terrorism alert level in Britain was raised to "severe specific," its highest yet as police said the number of confirmed deaths in last week's London bombings now stands at 52. Citing evidence gathered so far, The Times (London) said police were studying footage from dozens of closed-circuit cameras for faces that could be linked to the attacks, since the bombs apparently were placed aboard trains by terrorists who assembled at the King's Cross station. The terrorists who bombed trains in Madrid last year, killing 191 people, also gathered at one station first. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Tony Blair's aides said he'd reject calls for an official inquiry into the attacks.

On the heels of agreeing to return to disarmament talks with the US and neighboring governments, North Korea said it would not need nuclear weapons if it didn't feel threatened by the Bush administration. A commentary in the state-run newspaper Monday said, "We do not intend to possess nuclear weapons forever." The negotiations are expected to open in two weeks, after a year-long boycott by the North. Still, South Korean newspapers warned that the talks would be the last opportunity to resolve the nuclear standoff through dialogue before North Korea is referred to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.

Angry senior Palestinians said they'd appeal for help to the US and other governments after Israel's cabinet OK'd the final route of the separation barrier around Jerusalem. The cabinet acknowledged that its purpose is to ensure a Jewish majority in the city, since the wall would cut off 55,000 Arab residents of four neighborhoods but would include 30,000 West Bank Israelis. Palestinians hope to make Jerusalem's eastern sector their capital. Israel also was expected to present the US with its largest aid request in 13 years: $2.2 billion to pay for next month's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

As expected, the acting leader of Kyrgyzstan won a landslide victory in Sunday's presidential election and pledged "a high-quality government that will work for the good of the nation." Kurmanbek Bakiyev was credited with 88.9 percent of the ballots in the race to succeed the ousted Askar Akayev. The huge margin evoked comparisons to Soviet-era elections, but democracy activists called it a reflection of wide support for Akayev's ouster. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which monitored the election, said it had "generally respected" democratic principles, "although the quality of the process deteriorated" during ballot-counting.

At least 41 people died and 42 others were trapped underground in another coal mine explosion in western China Sunday. Accidents in China's mines, which have the worst safety conditions in the world, have killed more than 1,100 people so far this year - up 21 percent over the same period in 2004.

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