World

The US military on Sunday announced that it had arrested an Al Qaeda-linked militant believed to be responsible for the assassination last week of a sheikh who led an alliance of clans backing the Iraqi government and US forces. The sheikh was murdered days after he met with President Bush. The suspected killer was seized during a raid west of Balad, and the search continued for accomplices.

Investigators of Thailand's worst air accident in a decade said Monday that it's possible that the crash of the budget One-Two-Go Airlines flight, which killed 89 people and injured 41 others, may have been caused by a rapid change in wind speed while landing. The plane skidded off the runway as it touched down in Phuket Sunday in driving wind and rain. Two flight data recorders have been recovered and are expected to eventually help clarify what happened.

Sixteen nations signed a US-initiated pact on Sunday to help meet soaring world energy demand over coming decades by developing nuclear technology less prone to diversion into atomic bomb-making. Eleven nations joined the five nuclear fuel-producing powers – the US, Russia, China, France and Japan – which formed the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership in Vienna.

Chinese officials gave no reason Monday for a decision to postpone six-nation talks it was to host on North Korea's nuclear program. The latest round of talks were expected to start Wednesday. Last week, nuclear experts from the US, China, and Russia visited the North's nuclear facilities and reportedly reached an agreement with Pyongyang on how to proceed with disabling the facilities.

Greece's Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis won reelection Sunday as his New Democracy Party landed just enough seats in the 300-member parliament to assume power. A slim majority could make it harder for the government to carry out crucial economic and educational reforms.

A European Union court on Monday dismissed Microsoft Corp.'s appeal against an EU antitrust order that forced it to share communications code with rivals. The court also upheld a $613 million fine, the largest ever levied by EU regulators.

Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan's exiled former leader, told the Associated Press that her party may join other opposition groups in resigning from Parliament and taking to the streets to force the US-allied president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, from office. The Supreme Court on Monday heard a slew of petitions seeking to disqualify Musharraf, whose popularity has plummeted, from extending his rule.

A poll of the public by the major daily Asahi showed moderate Yasuo Fukuda the clear front-runner to replace Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who abruptly resigned last week due to health problems. Support for Fukuda, who launched a nationwide campaign Monday, was 53 percent, compared with 21 percent for the more hawkish former Foreign Minister Taro Aso. Fukuda has promised to focus on strengthening ties with Japan's Asian neighbors.

British scientists with the chemical company Revolymer believe they've developed a virtually nonstick chewing gum, which uses an additive that makes it much easier to remove from pavement, shoes, and carpets, according to the BBC. Chewing gum residue is a costly nuisance that scientists have been working to eliminate for years. The new material must pass European health and safety tests.

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