World

Governors of the UN nuclear watchdog agency gathered Monday to ratify a halt in transfers of technical aid to Iran, with chief inspector Mohammad ElBaradei saying he can't guarantee that the latter's program is peaceful. Despite four years of investigation, he said, he's certain only that Iran appears to have paused in developing its uranium enrichment program. The governors are not expected to vote on the suspension of dozens of aid-transfer programs until Tuesday at the earliest.

The slide in stock prices around the world extended into a second week Monday, and analysts said they couldn't predict when it would stop. Japan's Nikkei index fell for a fifth straight session, losing another 3.3 percent of its value. Markets also were down sharply in Hong Kong, South Korea, Australia, India, the Philippines, and Malaysia. By midday, the benchmark DAX index in Germany was off by 2.1 percent. The French and British indices were down 1.7 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.

A new suggestion by President Chen Shui-bian that Taiwan "should be independent" drew an angry response from Chinese officials Monday and sent stock prices on the island tumbling. The Taipei market index took its biggest hit in almost three years, plunging 3.7 percent. China's Foreign Ministry said Chen "will become a criminal in history" for advocating a split from the mainland.

More condemnations of US forces in Afghanistan came after an airstrike mistakenly hit a civilian home, killing all nine people inside. The incident was the second in two days involving civilian deaths at American hands. Freelance employees of the Associated Press accused US forces of confiscating and erasing footage of an incident Sunday in which 10 civilians died, and the agency said it would lodge an official complaint.

Three exchanges of gunfire erupted Monday in the Gaza Strip between Hamas and Fatah loyalists in the most serious test so far of their latest truce. The violence came as Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas said still more negotiations with President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah are needed to resolve lingering issues before completion of a unity government can be announced. That won't come before the end of next week, he said. The announcement was to have been made last week.

A senior commander in Russia's armed forces added new fuel to the controversy over a planned US missile-defense system in eastern Europe. Air Force Lt. Gen. Igor Khvorov was quoted as saying the installations proposed for Poland and the Czech Republic would be easy targets for "all types of our aircraft." Despite US assurances that the system isn't aimed at Russia, there has been a steady stream of criticism of it from Kremlin leaders and military chiefs.

A state of emergency was invoked Monday by East Timor's president to help security forces deal with hundreds of protesters after a raid failed to capture rebel leader Alfredo Reinado. Four of his followers died in an attack on their base Sunday by international peacekeepers. His supporters blocked roads, throwing rocks and vowing to continue until an arrest order for him is rescinded. The outburst caused Australia, which leads the peacekeeping mission, to evacuate nonessential personnel from its embassy. With a presidential election due next month, the threat posed by Reinado must be "neutralized," Australian Prime Minister John Howard said.

Protesters screamed obscenities Monday as the building in Copenhagen, Denmark, that has been at the center of the city's worst violence in a decade was demolished. Three days of clashes between leftist squatters and police resulted in more than 600 arrests. The owners of the so-called Youth House decided it should be leveled because it was a fire hazard.

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