No group has claimed responsibility for attacks
A series of car bomb attacks across Iraq on Monday killed at least 57 people and wounded dozens, as the country continued to struggle against the Islamic State militant group . The most destructive bombing took place in the town of al-Khales, about 80km northeast of Baghdad, where 35 people were killed, according to the police. The other attacks occurred in a crowded market in the town of al-Zubair, 15km southwest of Basra, and in the Hussainiya district on the outskirts of Baghdad. No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks yet, but the targeting of mainly Shiite areas points towards Islamic State.

US signs landmark trade deal with 11 countries
The United States and 11 other Pacific Rim countries signed a landmark trade liberalisation pact on Monday in Atlanta, which could reshape industries and cut trade barriers. Leaders from the US, Australia and Japan called the Trans-Pacific Partnership an ambitious and challenging negotiation that will cut red tape globally and “set the rules for the 21st century for trade”. The pact could affect 40% of the world economy and is seen as a major win for US President Barack Obama.

IS destroys 2,000-year-old Arch of Triumph in Syria
The office of Syria’s president condemned the destruction of the 2,000-year-old Arch of Triumph, a Roman-era UNESCO World Heritage site, in the ancient city of Palmyra. Syria’s antiquities director Maamoun Abdulkarim said that IS had booby-trapped the monument several weeks ago, while UNESCO's director-general said that “extremists are terrified by history and culture”. IS militants have earlier destroyed several temples, monuments and historic buildings in Palmyra since capturing it in May.

Russia pursuing ‘losing strategy’ in Syria: US
US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter said on Monday that Russia is pursuing a "losing strategy" in Syria, after a Russian fighter jet violated Turkey's air space. Russia began air strikes in Syria last week against what it claimed to be Islamic State targets. However, the Pentagon maintains that Russian jets have targeted rebel groups in order to support the Bashar al-Assad regime in the country. Carter said that Russia has “escalated the civil war” and put the structure of future governance at risk.

North Korea releases South Korean student
North Korea released 21-year-old South Korean student Joo Won-moon, six months after he was detained after allegedly crossing the border between the two countries illegally. According to AFP, Won-moon’s release at the border village of Panmunjom on Monday came after he was presented to the media in Pyongyang last month and read out what appeared to be an officially approved statement, admitting his guilt and singing North Korea's praises. Won-moon is a United States green card holder who had taken a hiatus from his studies at New York University and came home to South Korea after failing to find employment in the US.