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OIL SALES TO EXXON MOBIL ARE HALTED

CARACAS, Venezuela

Petroleos de Venezuela SA, or PDVSA, Venezuela's state oil company, said Tuesday that it has stopped selling crude to Exxon Mobil Corp. in response to the U.S. oil company's drive to use the courts to seize billions of dollars in Venezuelan assets. Exxon Mobil is locked in a dispute over the nationalization of its oil ventures in Venezuela that has led President Hugo Chavez to threaten to cut off all Venezuelan oil supplies to the United States.

TOKYO

Anger rises over alleged rape

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda voiced anger Tuesday over accusations that a U.S. Marine had raped a 14-year-old girl in Okinawa, calling the episode "unforgivable." Fukuda said, "Even though this has occurred several times in the past, it has happened again. I take this very seriously." The Marine, Staff Sgt. Tyrone Luther Hadnott, 38, from Camp Courtney in Okinawa, was arrested after being accused of attacking the girl in his car on Sunday night. Hadnott, who has denied raping the girl, has not been formally charged.

Copenhagen, Denmark

3 arrested in plot to kill cartoonist

Two Tunisians and a Dane were arrested in Denmark on Tuesday to prevent what the Danish police said would have been "a terror-related assassination" of one of 12 cartoonists behind caricatures of the prophet Mohammed published in 2005. Authorities said that the Dane would probably be charged and released and that the two Tunisians would simply be expelled, raising questions about how much evidence had been gathered in the case.

Elsewhere

United Nations: Serbia on Tuesday asked for an urgent meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Thursday over Kosovo's expected declaration of independence.

Cairo: Arab information ministers on Tuesday endorsed a plan to restrict content on regional satellite television broadcasts, signaling unease with popular news outlets that often are critical of Middle Eastern political and religious leaders.

Rome: Cereal stockpiles are expected to hit their lowest level in over two decades, contributing to continuing high prices, the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization says in a report being released today.

Times wires

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