World

Eighty-seven more Taliban died in a firefight with NATO troops in southern Afghanistan, an alliance spokesman said Monday. The battle took place in the same valley in which 49 of the enemy were killed in a failed attack on a joint NATO-Afghan patrol Friday. The accounts, if confirmed, would mean the losses for the Taliban were the heaviest this year. Against that backdrop, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his Pakis-tani counterpart, Pervez Musharraf, set aside their running feud over how to deal with the Taliban and agreed to share intelligence and to deny sanctuary to terrorists.

An address to the nation was scheduled Monday by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as the nation's growing political crisis was felt for the first time in financial markets. Analysts said it might take an easing of tensions or the scheduling of an early election for stocks to rebound. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, the candidate for president of Erdogan's Islamist-based Justice and Development Party, failed to win on the first vote taken by parliament but has refused calls to step aside. The second vote on his candidacy is scheduled for Wednesday.

Muslim separatists shot two more Buddhists in southern Thailand Monday, beheaded one, and then set their remains on fire. Police found a message nearby claiming the incident was in retaliation for a grenade attack Saturday on a local mosque that killed one man and injured three others. But as in other recent attacks, police said they suspected the grenade was thrown by a fellow Muslim trying to further enflame sectarian tensions.

Ratcheting up the pressure on embattled President Viktor Yushchenko, Ukraine's parliament passed a resolution Monday that calls for early national elections. But unlike Yushchenko, the lawmakers called for simultaneous voting for both president and a new parliament and for the election to be held not later than Dec. 9. In his power struggle with Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, Yushchenko set May 27 as the date for a parliamentary election only.

Activists from environmental groups sought to exert maximum pressure on delegates to the latest UN conference on climate change in Bangkok, Thailand. The goal: to finalize a strategy for limiting heat-trapping gas emissions proposed in two reports produced by scientists and diplomats – one in February and one last month. The US and China, labeled as the leading emitters of such gases, are expected to contest assertions that such a strategy wouldn't hurt their economies.

Results of a late opinion poll pointed to likely defeat Thursday for the ruling Labour Party in Scotland, where it has dominated politics for half a century. In the respected YouGov survey, the Scottish National Party (SNP) held an 8 percent lead over Labour, a development seen as especially significant because it happened so close to election day. The vote is expected to turn on Labour's backing for the unpopular war in Iraq and on an assumed SNP strategy of demanding all revenues from North Sea oil without forfeiting the $60 billion a year in subsidies that Scotland receives from Britain.

Kidnapped BBC reporter Alan Johnston is still alive, according to assurances by Palestinian leaders, the broadcaster said Monday. Johnston, who was seized at gunpoint in the Gaza Strip March 12, hasn't been heard from since. Two weeks ago, a previously unknown Palestinian militant group said it had executed him.

President Amadou Toumani Toure appeared headed for a landslide reelection victory against seven challengers in Mali. Toure held a 71 percent to 18 percent lead over his closest rival. Voter turnout Sunday was low in one of the world's poorest nations.

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