The Taliban extended the deadline for negotiating a trade of hostages for its prisoners yet again – to Wednesday. But an attempt by President Hamid Karzai and other Afghan leaders to shame the militants into freeing at least the 16 hostages who are female failed. A Taliban spokesman said it was fair to hold and threaten to kill the women because NATO units in Afghanistan have Afghan women in custody.
Pro-Taliban militants in northwestern Pakistan renamed an Islamic shrine they seized Sunday after the mosque captured earlier this month by government troops in the capital, Islamabad. A spokesman said religious schools for boys and girls would be built on the site, adding to the challenge that President Pervez Musharraf confronts in trying to bring the tribal region along the border with Afghanistan under control.
Rejecting demands that he resign, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he'll reshuffle his cabinet and pursue planned reforms will new vigor. Abe admitted that "the situation is extremely difficult" after his Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner lost 30 seats and fell into the minority in the upper house of parliament in Sunday's election. Influential Tokyo newspapers called for an early election for the lower house as well, which in the current political climate could result in a new prime minister.
For the sixth time this year, China's government ordered new efforts to cool the white-hot economy, a little over a week after hiking interest rates. Banks were told Monday to shrink the pool of money available for loans while raising their reserves by five points to 12 percent of deposits. Despite the earlier attempts to slow the economy, it grew by 11.9 percent in the April-June quarter, the fastest rate in 12 years. Fueled by exports, bank deposits have been increasing by tens of billions of dollars a month.
Sixty-nine coal miners "are in a safe place" and have been in contact by telephone, the China News Service said Monday after flooding trapped them below ground and initial rescue efforts were stalled by landslides that blocked the only access road. Thirty-three others escaped the mine in central Henan Province.
Some of the 49 suspected Muslim separatists arrested Sunday in southern Thailand already had offered to cooperate with authorities, an Army spokesman said, citing that as evidence of a growing split in the rebel ranks. He said many militants joined only because of threats to their families if they didn't and remain out of fear of retribution if they try to quit. The latest arrests bring to 1,930 the number of suspected militants caught since security forces began a coordinated crackdown in Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat provinces.
In a gesture of solidarity, President Laurent Gbagbo visited the former rebel stronghold in northern Ivory Coast for the first time since he and his enemies signed a peace accord March 4. With him were ex-rebel chief Guillaume Soro, who became prime minister in a unity government, and other African heads of state. They watched a ceremonial burning of rebel weapons, with the flame to be carried to each of the nation's 18 other regions, symbolizing reconciliation. The trip was postponed for weeks following a failed assassination attempt against Soro June 29.
Ingmar Bergman, who died Monday in Faro, Sweden, achieved legendary status in modern cinema for bringing inventive techniques to such themes as mental illness, death, and the breakdown of marriages. He directed more than 50 films, among them "Wild Strawberrries," "The Seventh Seal," "Cries and Whispers," "Scenes From a Marriage," and "Smiles of a Summer Night."