World

France is prepared to act as a mediator in helping Iraq form a unified national government, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner wrote in a column that appeared in Monday's International Herald Tribune. The piece ran the day after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki demanded the French government apologize for Kouchner's suggestion that Maliki be replaced.

Three confidants of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf were in London for talks about possible power-sharing with former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan's information minister confirmed Monday. Army chief Musharraf, who seized power in a 1999 coup, met with the self-exiled Bhutto last month in the United Arab Emirates about an alliance that might help the embattled president remain in office.

Russia's chief prosecutor said Monday that 10 people have been arrested and will be charged soon with the October murder of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who exposed human rights abuses in Chechnya.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's eldest son has returned home for a possible power succession, an unnamed man close to the son told the Associated Press Monday. The secretive Pyongyang government hasn't issued any news about the son, who reportedly returned from the Chinese territory of Macau in late June. Meanwhile, the US said it would engage North Korea in bilateral talks in Geneva Sept. 1 and 2 as a step toward improving relations after decades of animosity.

Two Chinese brothers trapped in a collapsed illegal mine in Beijing's Fangshan district for nearly six days and presumed dead clawed their way out with a pick, state media said Monday. They survived with no food and little water. Meanwhile, officials provided little information about 181 workers trapped 10 days in flooded coal shafts in Shandong province.

A top Greece prosecutor ordered a probe into whether suspected arsonists, who may have set a series of deadly wildfires, can be charged with terrorism.

The amount of land used to grow opium in Afghanistan has increased 17 percent during the past year, the UN said Monday. Drug money made from opium sales is a main funding source for the Taliban insurgency.

Paul Barker, the director of the US-based aid group CARE in Sudan, said Monday that the Sudanese government has given him 72 hours to leave the country, but given no reasons for the order.

The Rolling Stones ended their two-year world tour in London Sunday, just eight miles from the club where the veteran rock band performed their first-ever show in 1962. The band, the focus of a Martin Scorsese documentary to be released in April, gave no indications of its future plans.

Mexican golfer Lorena Ochoa won her third straight LPGA title Sunday, securing a five-shot victory at the Safeway Classic in Portland, Ore., after previous wins at the Women's British Open and the Canadian Women's Open.

The Venice Film Festival, which dates back 75 years and is the world's oldest, opens Wednesday. All 22 films in competition for the coveted Golden Lion are world premières. The festival, which runs through Sept. 8, provides an early preview of the Oscars in February.

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