Palestinians: Sporadic gunfire has threatened a ceasefire between rival Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip.
Witnesses in Gaza City say shooting could be heard in parts of the city shortly after Hamas and Fatah agreed Sunday to observe a truce. They say Palestinian gunmen continue to roam city streets today (Monday).
Violence between the two factions erupted Saturday after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for new elections. Hamas, which won legislative elections in January, opposes Mr. Abbas' plan for a new poll.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair is visiting the region, and is due to meet Abbas today.
Mr. Blair, who held talks earlier today with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, says he backs Mr. Abbas' call for new elections. The British leader described the Palestinian president as a key leader in the fight against regional extremism.
Iraq: The Iraqi Red Crescent says it has halted operations in Baghdad following a mass kidnapping at its biggest office in the capital.
The organization's secretary-general says the work stoppage will continue until further notice. He said the group's offices in other Iraqi provinces were still functioning.
Iraqi officials say gunmen in Iraqi army uniforms took 30 men hostage from the humanitarian agency's office Sunday. They say at least 13 hostages have been released.
Meanwhile, the U.S. military says it will triple the number of military trainers embedded with Iraqi troops.
North Korea – Nuclear: North Korea's nuclear envoy has demanded that his country be provided with a civilian nuclear reactor in return for nuclear disarmament.
Kim Kye Gwan was speaking in Beijing at today's (Monday's) opening session of six-party talks on Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program.
Kim also demanded that all U.N. and U.S. financial sanctions against North Korea be lifted before his country abandons nuclear weapons.
Other demands included that North Korea be supplied with energy until a nuclear reactor is built. If the demands are not met, Kim said Pyongyang would strengthen its nuclear deterrent.
Diplomats report that Kim also said North Korea does not care whether other countries recognize it as a nuclear power. He said Pyongyang is "satisfied" with its nuclear status after it tested a nuclear weapon in October.
U.S. envoy Christopher Hill says the international community will not accept North Korea as a nuclear state. He also says Washington is running out of patience with North Korea's refusal to disarm.
SDBR: North Korea – UN: A U.N. human rights envoy says North Korea should spend its limited resources on feeding its people rather than on developing nuclear weapons.
Vitit Muntarbhorn was speaking today (Monday) in Seoul, after meeting with North Korean defectors who have resettled in the South.
The Thai diplomat says Pyongyang's military-first policy is regrettable, because it takes money away from securing a stable food supply for the North Korean people.
Muntarbhorn also expressed hope that the resumption of six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons program will lead to progress in addressing humanitarian and human rights concerns.
Indonesia Earthquake: Indonesian officials say an earthquake has struck the northern part of Sumatra island, killing at least seven people and injuring more than 100.
Authorities say the magnitude five-point-seven quake hit North Sumatra province before dawn today (Monday) (at 0440 local time / 2140 UTC Sunday). They say six people were killed by falling debris, while an elderly man died from a heart attack.
Officials say the quake destroyed hundreds of homes and damaged several mosques and churches. It also triggered landslides that blocked major roads, hampering efforts to reach about 20 villages in the quake zone. Authorities have set up temporary shelters for hundreds of people left homeless.
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