OPEC President Cites

Concern About Prices

KUWAIT CITY -- The president of OPEC said Sunday that the oil cartel was concerned about rising oil prices and would explore options to keep crude prices at moderate levels during its Sept. 19 meeting in Vienna.

"We are becoming increasingly concerned at the continuing high level of oil prices, which does not properly reflect the underlying fundamentals of the market," Ahmad Fahad Ahmad Sabah, who is also Kuwait's oil minister, said in a statement. Sabah said that oil supplies were "plentiful" and that OPEC has been producing 1.5 million barrels per day more than needed during the third quarter of 2005.

Oil prices reached record highs on the New York Mercantile Exchange last week, hovering below $68 a barrel before the close of trading Friday.

Existing spare capacity in OPEC countries, together with new capacity early next year, will be more than enough to cover the growing demand throughout the coming winter and in 2006, Sabah added.

ASIA

* KABUL, Afghanistan -- Taliban insurgents asserted responsibility for the killing of a parliamentary candidate as a spate of pre-election violence fueled concerns about security for the Sept. 19 vote.

In addition to the killing of Atiqullah, a candidate for a new lower house of parliament, a German peacekeeping base in the northeastern town of Faizabad was attacked, and three U.S. soldiers were wounded near Kabul.

THE MIDDLE EAST

* TEHRAN -- Iranian judges will begin carrying handguns following four attacks on judiciary officials in the past four weeks, including the shooting of a judge on Sunday, officials said.

They said the motive for shooting Judge Mohammad Reza Aghazadeh was not immediately clear.

One judge was stabbed to death in southern Iran this month, and another was disfigured by acid thrown in his face. Hassan Moghaddas, a judge who had jailed several dissidents, was shot and killed in his car Aug. 2.

THE AMERICAS

* LIMA, Peru -- A man claiming to be the leader of Peru's Shining Path rebels asserted responsibility for attacks that killed nine people and said the group would press a campaign of "selective annihilation," a local newspaper reported.

Accompanying what it said was an exclusive interview in the Peruvian jungle last week, La Republica newspaper published a photograph of "Comrade Artemio" in a black ski mask. The photo resembled images in a television interview last year in which a man claiming to be Artemio announced the resumption of armed actions by the group.

One of the attacks was on a police helicopter supporting efforts to eradicate coca, which is used to make cocaine. "We don't defend drugs trafficking, only the coca producer," the man was quoted as saying.

The Shining Path, one of the world's most ruthless guerrilla groups, has been blamed for about half of the nearly 70,000 deaths during Peru's war against the group in the 1980s and 1990s.

-- From News Services

A Giant's Step

Motola, a 44-year-old Thai elephant whose leg was amputated after she stepped on a land mine six years ago near the Burmese border, tries out a prosthetic limb at an elephant conservation center in the northern province of Lampang.