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Seven people in the Palestinian prime minister's office in the West Bank fell ill on Monday after a letter containing an unknown substance was opened, government and hospital officials said. The envelope, postmarked Tel Aviv, was addressed to Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, a leader of the militant Hamas movement who is based in the Gaza Strip, Deputy Prime Minister Naser al-Shaer told a news conference. "We do not rule out the involvement of Israeli intelligence in the dangerous and criminal act," Haniyeh said.

Cuban leader Fidel Castro remained out of sight on Monday a week after surgery forced him to put his brother in charge of the government for the first time in his 47-year tenure. While senior officials have assured Cubans that Castro is on the road to recovery, state media gave no update on Castro's health. The Cuban Workers Union (CTC) said 3 million workers have held meetings across Cuba in the past three days to wish Castro a quick recovery and show support for his brother and the ruling Communist Party.

A May deal that was supposed to help end the conflict in Darfur has instead sparked months of fighting between rival rebel factions, according to aid groups, the UN, and African Union peacekeepers. Clashes have left countless dead in the last two months and displaced nearly 50,000 people. More than 2 million people had already fled their homes and 1 million more rely on food aid because their fields have been razed. A May 5 peace accord signed in Nigeria was initially hailed as a breakthrough, but since then "it's gotten a lot worse on every level," said Alun McDonald, spokesman for the British charity, Oxfam, in Sudan. More than 200,000 people have been killed in the region since ethnic African tribes rose in revolt against the Arab-led Khartoum government in 2003.

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Two tropical storms could hit Taiwan later this week before moving on to China, Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau said on Monday. Tropical storm Bopha was due to reach southern Taiwan on Wednesday afternoon wih wind speeds of up to 90 k.p.h. Tropical storm Saomai would touch the northern end of the island a day later. Typhoons and floodings affect the southern region of China and Taiwan during a season that lasts from early summer through late autumn. But now, China's northern provinces are also struggling with heavy droughts.

In Sao Paulo, Brazil, assailants sprayed gunfire at police, blew up explosives outside government buildings and torched buses and bank branches Monday in a new wave of attacks apparently initiated by a notorious gang led by inmates inside Sao Paulo's prisons. Authorities did not immediately report any deaths or injuries in the latest attacks against symbols of authority in South America's largest city, but the "Agencia Estado" news wire service said two people suffered minor injuries after a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a supermarket.

President Abdullahi Yusuf told parliament Monday that the prime minister will name a smaller, and better qualified Cabinet to resolve differences in the government and prepare it to counter an armed Islamic fundamentalist group's bidfor power. The current Cabinet will be dissolved to nominate new members to a 31-member Cabinet, down from the 42 that has been stipulated in Somalia's transitional charter. Yusuf said the new Cabinet would be nominated within seven days.

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