WORLD IN BRIEF: Amended Iraqi election law still angers Sunnis

Amended Iraqi election law still angers Sunnis

BAGHDAD -- Iraq's parliament amended the country's vetoed election law on Monday with a version that failed to appease Sunni Arabs, who fear they are being marginalized.

The outcome prompted predictions of another veto and a delay in the elections slated for January.

The dispute highlights the ethnic and sectarian divisions in Iraq. While more secure than in past years of war, the country has yet to achieve the political reconciliation vital to long-term stability.

Official says Chinese mine too crowded

HEGANG, China -- The coal mine that exploded in northern China, killing 104, had too many workers underground in an effort to increase output, a government official said Monday, exposing the risks often taken to meet the country's insatiable energy demands.

The weekend gas explosion -- China's worst mining accident in two years -- was a blow to the government's recent efforts to improve safety standards in the industry, the deadliest in the world.

Grieving relatives, who wailed at the gate of the Xinxing mining office Monday morning, were shocked that the such a blast could occur at one of China's state-run mines, which the government has promoted as being safer that smaller, privately run concerns.

World markets rally as gold strikes new high

LONDON -- World markets rose sharply Monday amid further hopeful signs about the global economic recovery. Commodity stocks led the charge, particularly in London, after gold hit another record high.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares closed up 104.09 points, or 2 percent, at 5,355.50 while Germany's DAX rose 138.33 points, or 2.4 percent, to 5,801.48.

UK lawmakers could face charges over expenses

LONDON -- Four British lawmakers could face criminal charges over the expenses they claimed from taxpayers, prosecutors said Monday, marking the latest twist in a scandal over lavish spending by elected officials.

Prosecutors said they had only just begun to examine the evidence against the unidentified lawmakers and would be making a decision whether to file charges at some later point.