Criminals are taking advantage of post-tsunami chaos in the affected Asian region and abroad:
• In Sri Lanka, incidents of sexual and physical abuse, including rape, of women and children in refugee camps were reported.
• In Thailand, thieves disguised as police and rescue workers have looted luggage and hotel safes.
• In Hong Kong, the charity Oxfam warned of a bogus fundraising e-mail circulating in its name asking people to send donations to a bank account in Cyprus.
• The Swedish government is keeping secret the names of missing nationals after some homes of known victims were targeted by thieves.
In a bid to support the Israeli-Palestinian conflict's apparent second wind, Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul will meet Tuesday with senior Israeli officials, including Ariel Sharon. Gul said Turkey, a key trading partner with Israel, hopes to help Israelis and Palestinians reach a peace deal, calling this Turkey's "greatest duty."
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said Monday he would never take up arms against militant Palestinian groups, who have rejected his cease-fire appeals. Abbas, who has insisted on "dialogue and discussion" as the only means to achieving peace, also said he was determined to ensure that only one authority was in charge of the Palestinian territories, a message to armed groups that attack Israel.
Uganda will resume all-out war on northern rebels after negotiators failed to agree Friday on the terms of a cease-fire that had been expected to open the way for political talks on ending the 18-year civil war. Mistrust between the government and the Lord's Resistance Army has obstructed previous peace efforts.
Puerto Rico inaugurated a new governor Sunday who supports the country's status as a US commonwealth. Anibal Acevedo Vila won the tightly contested election by 0.2 percent, a recount confirmed last week. Acevedo Vila's inaugural address centered on putting aside political differences highlighted by the disputed Nov. 2 election, which deepened bitter divisions among the 4 million people who have argued for decades about whether to move toward independence, remain a US commonwealth, or become a US state, a move supported by his rival Pedro Rossello.
An armed Peruvian nationalist group would not surrender its weapons Monday as planned because the government broke an agreement not to mobilize troops, said its leader Antauro Humala. The group took over a police station in southern Peru Sunday to demand the resignation of unpopular President Alejandro Toledo.