World

Japanese lawmakers rejected legislation to split up and sell the nation's postal service Monday, leading Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to call snap elections next month. He promised to make the vote a referendum on his reform plan. The showdown could shake the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's grip on power, since defections from Koizumi's LDP helped defeat the postal plan in the upper House of parliament. Koizumi said he would resign if the LDP did not win a majority in parliament with its coalition partner, the New Komeito Party in the Sept. 11 vote.

Saddam Hussein's family said Monday it has dissolved his Jordan-based legal team, canceling the power of attorney it had given to international lawyers in a move seen as reorganizing Saddam's legal counsel ahead of his upcoming trial. Saddam is expected to stand trial in September in the first of several anticipated trials for the former leader and his chief lieutenants.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez accused the US Drug Enforcement Administration of using its agents for espionage, and said Venezuela was suspending cooperation with the US agency. Chávez, who regularly accuses the US government of plotting against him, said Sunday, "The DEA isn't absolutely necessary for the fight against drug trafficking."

Russian sailors rescued with British help after three days trapped in a minisubmarine deep in the Pacific revealed Monday how they struggled with rapidly decreasing water and oxygen supplies while waiting in the darkness and cold. The seven men had only six hours of oxygen left when they reached the surface, said Cmdr. Ian Riches, the British naval officer who directed the effort to use a remote-controlled vehicle to free the sub from fishing nets.

New government figures showed on Monday that nearly 60 percent of the Jewish settlers slated for removal from Gaza and part of the West Bank have applied for state compensation, signaling their willingness to leave beginning Aug. 17.

The British and Australian governments joined Washington on Monday in warning citizens in Saudi Arabia that terrorists are planning attacks soon. The announcement came a day after the US Embassy said all three American missions in the kingdom would be closed Monday and Tuesday because of threats against US buildings.

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