Despite reports that Saudi Arabia will increase oil production next month to its highest level yet, protests against the surging price of fuel widened Monday around the world. A truckers' association in Colombia was expected to begin a nationwide work stoppage, joining similar actions in France, Spain, India, and South Korea. In Thailand, however, truckers postponed a blockade of Bangkok after the government said it would look for sources of funding to help them meet fuel costs.

Taliban militants, some of whom may be escapees from prison late last week, have overrun a number of villages in southern Afghanistan, regional authorities reported Monday. They said NATO-led forces were being redeployed to "meet the threat." The developments came as the Pakistani government summoned Afghan Ambassador Mohammad Anwar Anwarzai to protest Sunday's "regrettable" threat by President Hamid Karzai to send his nation's troops across their border to attack Taliban encampments.

Followers of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in the southern city of Amara will not resist the Iraqi government's new crackdown on militancy, a senior aide pledged Monday. Analysts said his tone differed from the defiance of Sadrist leaders in previous crackdowns, such as in Basra and Baghdad. Plans call for the operation to begin Thursday. Militiamen have been ordered to surrender their heavy weapons beforehand or be arrested.

Warning that soldiers' guns trump an "X" drawn on a ballot with a ball-point pen, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe told a campaign rally he won't yield power to Western-backed opponents, the government newspaper reported Monday. The hard-line incumbent is to face challenger Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change in a runoff next week. He also said his government will investigate foreign aid agencies for allegedly using food distribution as a tactic against him in the first round of voting March 29.

Heavy rains remained in the forecast for the next 10 days across the same region of southern China that was devastated in the May 12 earthquake. The Xinhua news agency said at least 57 people had died in flooding, eight others were missing, and more than 4,800 houses had collapsed. Almost 1.4 million people have had to be evacuated. Summer flooding is an annual problem in China, but meteorologists said this year's had the potential to be "extraordinary."

Twelve policemen were killed and 19 others were wounded Monday when a suspected Tamil rebel rode his motorbike into the midst of a shift change in northern Sri Lanka and detonated a bomb. Four school children also were hurt. The blast came on the one-month anniversary of a similar attack that killed 10 policemen in Colombo, the capital.

An area the size of Alaska was put off-limits to commercial tuna fleets in the southern Pacific Ocean Sunday as island nations there sought to protect the species from overfishing. Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and six others imposed the ban after the regional commission that regulates fishing failed to agree on strengthened conservation measures at its annual meeting. About half of the world's annual tuna catch comes from the Pacific – mostly from the region covered by the ban.

In Takanezawa, Japan, three American customers accepted the keys Monday to Honda FCX Clarity models, the automaker's attempt to meet demand for hydrogen-powered cars. The vehicle emits only water vapor. Honda will build 70 a year until mass production can begin, probably about 2018. Initially, it will only lease them in Japan and California for $600 a month.

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.