World

North Korea wants more than a half-million tons of fuel oil a year in return for shutting down its Yongbyon nuclear reactor, a published report said. The Tokyo newspaper Asahi Shimbun said North Korea also wants the US to end financial sanctions against it and to remove it from the list of nations that sponsor terrorism. Asked about the report, US envoy to the six-sided talks on North Korea Christopher Hill said nothing less than "100 percent" dismantling of the North's nuclear program is acceptable to the other participants. He said "we won't get it" at the talks, which are to resume Thursday, "but maybe we can have a good beginning."

A senior Taliban chief and two aides were killed in a NATO air-strike as the alliance sought to retake a town in southern Afghanistan that the militants overran last week. Residents were fleeing by the hundreds, expecting a full assault on Musa Qala by NATO, reports said. The airstrike was the alliance's first move under its new commander, Gen. Dan McNeill of the US.

Overflowing rivers forced an estimated 340,000 people from their homes in Jakarta, Indonesia, and its suburbs Sunday, amid heavy rains that forecasters said could continue for another week. At least 20 deaths were reported as a result of the devastation, the worst in five years. The government's Environment Ministry blamed the problem on overbuilding of natural drainage areas.

"At least 3 million people" – among them the nation's senior political figures – jammed a tent city outside Dhaka, Bangladesh, Sunday to pray for peace in perhaps the world's largest religious gathering in years. It wound up a three-day annual World Congregation of Muslims. The BBC said devotees came from more than 60 nations. Feuding former prime ministers Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina, both of whom are women, joined the throng, which normally is not open to females.

The resignation of a senior cabinet minister was demanded by protest organizers in southern Nepal Sunday before they'll negotiate an end to their antigovernment demonstrations. The Madhesi People's Rights Forum said it holds Home Minister Krishna Situala responsible for an incident Saturday in which police fired into a crowd of protesters, killing one and wounding at least 10 others. The police, who were enforcing a local curfew, said they acted in self-defense when protesters tried to seize their guns. Three more people died under similar circumstances Sunday. The Madhesis complain of second-class treatment and are demanding increased autonomy.

Militants in southern Nigeria freed nine foreign oil-industry employees Sunday, 11 days after seizing them in a raid on their employer, the China National Petroleum Co. All were said to be in good health. China's Foreign Ministry called the efforts to win their freedom "complex," but local authorities said no ransom was paid. Militants in the region are still holding hostages from the US, Britain, Italy, Lebanon, and the Philippines.

Thousands of leftists filled the streets of Oaxaca, Mexico, Saturday in a new demand for the resignation of state Gov. Ulises Ruiz – the first such demonstration in the historic tourist city this year. Oaxaca had been calm since federal troops and police were sent to the city last November to quell six months of unrest. Hundreds of demonstrators were arrested, and dozens of them are still behind bars. Ruiz is accused of rigging his 2004 election and of sending armed thugs to beat his opponents. He denies the allegations.

Would-be rescuers tried again Sunday to reach Colombian coal miners trapped deep underground when methane gas exploded, killing at least 18 men and perhaps as many as 31. Authorities said the risk of another explosion was complicating the rescue effort, which had to be suspended Saturday. Mines in the area are notorious for their lax safety procedures.

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