Two new cascades, each featuring 164 centrifuges, are in place in Iran's vast Natanz underground nuclear facility and will be tested "within days," knowledgeable sources said Monday. The centrifuges are used to purify uranium, making it usable for nuclear weapons, although Iran's leaders insist they are enriching uranium solely for civilian purposes. Ultimately, Iran plans to have 54,000 working centrifuges, reports say. Natanz is deep under the desert in central Iran, surrounded by antiaircraft batteries, but UN inspectors still have access to it.
Hamas's top two leaders and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah are due in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday for another try at forging a unity government. Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas prime minister, told his cabinet Monday, "We have no choice but to reach an agreement." As he spoke, the latest cease-fire in the Gaza Strip appeared to be holding with the exception of minor violations, although all previous truces have quickly fallen apart.
NATO forces airdropped leaflets on a town in southern Afghanistan that was overrun by Taliban remnants, ordering them to leave. It was not immediately clear what action the alliance would take if they did not. Since last fall, Musa Qala had been under an agreement that gave local elders control and required NATO, the Afghan Army, and the Taliban to stay at least three miles away. But hundreds of Taliban fighters broke the deal last week and overwhelmed the town's weak police force.
Clear skies returned to Indonesia's capital Monday, and flood waters receded in some sections of the city. But authorities raised the casualty count from the flooding to 29 deaths, and meteorologists predicted that the torrential rains that have inundated Jakarta would return soon. More than half the city – rich and poor neighborhoods alike – is estimated to be underwater. Medical clinics have treated more than 53,000 people in the past two days, public health officials said, warning against exposure to waterborne diseases.
Hundreds of white farmers appeared to have won a temporary reprieve in Zimbabwe, whose government said they could remain on their land until current crops have been harvested. Normally, that would occur in late August. Last month, the government gave whites who still were on farms to be redistributed to poor blacks until Saturday to leave or be evicted and prosecuted. As of Monday, there were no reports of the government's pledge being disregarded, a farmers' association spokeswoman said.
With his prison sentence for fraud and tax evasion almost half-complete, former Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky was charged with two new crimes Monday. Prosecutors in Siberia, where he is serving eight years behind bars, added money-laundering and embezzlement to his list of offenses, and his attorneys said a new trial could begin within days. If convicted again, Khodorkovsky could be ordered to serve an additional 15 years. Once Russia's richest man, he angered President Vladimir Putin in 2003 by funding opposition political parties.
Hyundai Motor Co., the world's sixth-largest automaker, said its chairman will appeal a three-year prison sentence for embezzlement and breach of trust. Because of his contributions to South Korea's economic development, Chung Mong-koo had been expected to be given a suspended sentence Monday after prosecutors won a guilty verdict in a $110.4 million slush fund scandal. Analysts say Hyundai has appeared to flounder since Chung's arrest last spring.
Only 15 survivors were reported from a heavily laden cargo vessel that capsized Sunday night en route from a port in Nigeria to one in Cameroon. The craft was believed to be carrying at least 100 people as well as cars.