Iraq's vital oil exports ground to a complete halt because of sabotaged pipelines, but radical Shiite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said through a spokes-man that he's calling on all of his followers to cease resisting US and government forces. Sadr plans to announce in a few days that he will become part of the political process, the aide said. Fighting between his militiamen and US and Iraqi troops still was reported in Baghdad. But analysts said if he becomes politically involved, that would be tacit acceptance of the US-led effort to hold national elections next January. Meanwhile, experts calculated that Iraq was losing $60 million a day in income with the pipelines out of service. The government has made protecting them a priority but concedes that the 4,350-mile network gives saboteurs many places to strike.

US and UN officials were making final assessments of conditions in Darfur as the government of Sudan arrived at its deadline for stopping the ethnic cleansing of non-Muslims and braced for word on whether it will be sanctioned for failing to do so. Foreign Minister Mustafa Oslam Ismail said he hoped for "a reasonable decision" by the UN Security Council, which is scheduled to meet Thursday to consider whether to follow through on its threat of unspecified action. Claims that military aircraft attacked a Darfur village as recently as last Thursday were being investigated.

The car bomb explosion that killed at least 12 people in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday was only the beginning of a new campaign to destabilize the nation as its Oct. 9 presidential election approaches, a Taliban chief vowed. Three of the dead were Americans. Via satellite phone, a speaker identifying himself as senior Taliban council member Mullah Daudullah said targets in the capital with military or elections roles will be hit again, along with any other Afghan city where Westerners are present. He denied that the Taliban were responsible for bombing a religious school Saturday, an attack that killed nine people.

Land in rural areas that isn't being used to produce crops will be redistributed to poor peasants, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez promised in one of his first major moves since winning a contentious national referendum on his rule earlier this month. He said he has ordered Army commanders to inventory idle land on estates of more than 12,350 acres. A 2001 law allows his government to impose punitive taxes on owners of such property and to award the acreage to landless people. As in Zimbabwe, ranchers and farmers have complained bitterly about invasions of their property by peasants with Chávez's encouragement.

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