World

OPEC ministers who meet Monday in Vienna are expected to leave the group's output ceiling unchanged at 28 million barrels a day. Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said his country in particular has done "its best to supply the world with what it needs energy-wise," adding that inventories are at comfortable levels and prices are coming down.

Labour Party chancellor Gordon Brown denied Sunday any involvement in efforts to oust British Prime Minister Tony Blair last week. Still, Labour members of Blair's cabinet have criticized Brown for remaining silent for days and suggest that this could hurt his chances of succeeding Blair. Eight Labour members of parliament resigned last week while urging Blair in a letter to quit, causing a divide in the party. Blair said he would go within a year, but wanted to depart on his own terms.

European Union foreign chief Javier Solana and Iran's top nuclear negotiator resumed talks Sunday in Vienna after calling their discussions to avert punitive UN sanctions against Iran "constructive." The US has pushed to launch sanctions against Iran unless it stops enriching uranium. The talks appear to be moving toward a compromise in which Iran would freeze its enrichment program in exchange for the start of trade negotiations.

For the first time since the Taliban fell five years ago, a suicide bomber assassinated an Afghan provincial governor on Sunday. Hakim Taniwal, the governor of Paktia Province, bordering Paki-stan, was killed along with his driver as they were entering his car, police said. The assassination occurred as NATO and Afghan forces continued their offensive against the resurgent Taliban in the southern province of Kandahar by killing almost 100 militants in weekend attacks. Taliban officials have in the past dismissed NATO's casualty figures as propaganda.

Pope Benedict XVI continues his six-day homecoming trip to Germany Monday with a short visit to his Bavarian hometown, his first to the region since his election in April 2005. On Sunday, at an open-air Mass to some 250,000 pilgrims in Munich, Benedict said that science and technology make modern societies deaf to God's message, filling ears "with too many different frequencies." Hoping to reinvigorate the German church, which has seen Mass attendance drop to 14 percent on a typical Sunday, the pope said "faith must come first, before progress can be made in social problems."

A Sudanese judge freed American journalist Paul Salopek over the weekend from a prison in the war-torn Darfur region after a month of being held on espionage charges. The release occurred after a 13-minute hearing on Saturday, and the day after Gov. Bill Richardson (D) of New Mexico, where Salopek lives, spoke with Sudanese President al-Bashir about the case. Salopek, a Pultizer Prize-winning reporter for the Chicago Tribune who was on assignment for National Geographic, said he received "excellent" treatment while in detention.

If a Palestinian unity government is formed that breaks with the policies of the boycotted Hamas-led administration, the international community should be willing to engage with it, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Sunday during a visit to the West Bank. Blair shared this view at a news conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who echoed earlier comments that he is ready for unconditional talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Bermuda shut its airport and doesn't expect to reopen it until Tuesday, as Florence, the sixth tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, strengthened into a hurricane in the open Atlantic Sunday.

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