Oil futures rose again Monday on world markets, apparently a sign of disappointment that Saudi Arabia is increasing production by only a modest amount. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, a barrel of light sweet crude for August delivery was up $1.20 to $136.56 at midday. It was trading at $135.67 in London. The Saudis announced at a meeting of producing and consuming nations Sunday that they would pump up to 500,000 barrels a day more in two stages, if market conditions warranted. One industry analyst called the meeting "a nonevent."
The militant group whose campaign of sabotage has cut deeply into Nigeria's crude oil output announced a unilateral cease-fire Sunday night. But the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) stopped short of saying it would participate in peace negotiations with the government. It said the truce would take effect at midnight Tuesday and would be open-ended. MEND will take part in a "peace summit" called by President Umaru Yar'Adua only if its imprisoned leader is permitted to attend, it said.
Units of Lebanon's Army rolled into the northern city of Tripoli Monday with orders to stop new sectarian fighting that has killed at least nine people, wounded 50 others, and destroyed houses, shops, and cars. The violence, which began early Sunday, also has raised doubts about the recent deal to forge a unity government between the anti- and pro-Syrian political camps and their supporters.
A three-member panel of Pakistan's Supreme Court barred ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from running as a candidate in Thursday's election for parliament. Sharif, a bitter opponent of President Pervez Musharraf, successfully challenged an earlier ruling on the same matter. But the justices denied him a second time because of criminal convictions related to his ouster by Musharraf in a 1999 coup.
Emergency crews in the central Philippines were considering whether to open a hole in the hull of an upside-down ferry Monday in a search for possible survivors. Of more than 800 people believed to be aboard the Princess of Stars when it capsized in a powerful typhoon, only 38 are known to have reached safety. On land, the typhoon is blamed for at least 163 deaths.
As expected, the state of Tarija became the fourth in Bolivia to approve a referendum on autonomy from the leftist government of President Evo Morales. Based on preliminary, unofficial tallies, the "yes" vote Sunday appeared to be between 79 percent and 82 percent. Tarija produces more than 80 percent of Bolivia's natural gas, its chief income-earner.
Half of all vehicles belonging to China's Communist Party and the city of Beijing were ordered off the road Monday in an effort to clean the air in time for the Olympic Summer Games. The edict will be in effect until July 19, after which vehicles may be driven only every other day, depending on their license numbers. Observers said they saw no immediate difference in air quality.
New doubts surfaced Monday about the commitment of Fiji's military ruler to hold a promised election after he pulled his government out of a regional forum on restoring democracy. Commodore Frank Bainimarama accused Australia and New Zealand of being unhelpful and dishonest after their foreign ministers had spent more than a year on plans for the election. Bainimarama, who seized power in 2006, first pledged that the vote would be taken by the end of March. But recently he has hinted that it may be delayed for an unspecified period.