Contracts for crude oil were fluctuating between $47 and $49 a barrel in trading Monday, the highest they've risen since mid-December. But worry that they might again approach the levels of last summer was dismissed by a source for OPEC. He said cartel members were "very unlikely" to heed a call from Iran to punish supporters of Israel – the US and some European governments – by imposing an embargo on the sale of crude to them.
Senior government officials in India handed detailed evidence to Pakistan's top diplomatic representative purporting to link "elements" in his country to the November siege that killed 164 people in Mumbai. An accompanying statement said "it is our expectation" that Pakistani authorities also will investigate the matter "and share the results with us." Pakistan has denied that the siege was launched from inside its territory, demanding proof. Its foreign ministry said only that the Indian materials would be "reviewed."
Dedication ceremonies were held in Baghdad Monday for the new $592 million US Embassy complex, the largest American diplomatic mission in the world. The 104-acre facility will house more than 1,000 diplomats, staffers from 14 different federal agencies, and military personnel. Reacting to criticism of its size, an embassy spokeswoman said, "Its scale reflects the importance of the US-Iraq bilateral relationship." Previously, the US mission had occupied a palace built for the late dictator, Saddam Hussein.
A police officer was critically wounded Monday as violence returned to Athens, and ballistics tests indicated that the rifle used in the incident was the same as the one that sprayed bullets at a bus just before Christmas. The victim had been guarding the Culture Ministry when he was hit. The use of an AK-47 in both shootings raised concerns that an extremist group was at work. The trouble in Athens and other cities erupted after police bullets killed a teenager Dec. 6.
Coup leaders in Guinea have stepped up plans for a promised national election by a year, a visiting diplomat said Monday. Alain Joyandet of France said he'd been told the vote will be held before Dec. 31 and that Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara, the junta chief, would not be a candidate for elective office. Initially, Camara had said the election wouldn't take place until the end of 2010, when the late President Lansana Conte's term would have expired.
More strong aftershocks rocked the West Papua region of Indo-nesia, causing thousands of residents to sleep in the streets because they were afraid to return to their homes. Two quakes, with magnitudes of 7.6 and 7.3, struck the region Sunday, killing at least one person, injuring more than 300 others, toppling hundreds of buildings, and cutting off electricity. Officials said help had yet to reach some of the worst-hit areas.
At least one person died and dozens more were hurt in a fast-spreading fire late Sunday in Bangkok, Thailand – the second major blaze there since New Year's Eve. It broke out in a shopping/residential complex, and helicopters had to be used to evacuate people from the roof. Meanwhile, two more victims of the Dec. 31 fire in a nightclub succumbed, raising the number of dead to 64. Thirty others are listed in critical condition. Fireworks apparently set off the earlier blaze, sending panicked revelers stampeding for the only exit.
Waterford Wedgewood, one of the world's foremost makers of luxury goods, fell into receivership Monday, threatening the jobs of 1,900 employees in Britain and Ireland. The 250-year-old company, famous for its premium crystal and china, failed to find a buyer or new investors. It has lost money in each of the past five years, in part due to the falling value of the US dollar against the euro.