Angry opposition members of Lebanon's parliament refused to take part in the new "unity" government called for by reappointed pro-Syrian Prime Minister Omar Karami. Karami, who quit the post 11 days ago in the face of mounting public protests, nonetheless was asked by President Emile Lahoud to choose another cabinet - a move that opposition spokesmen called "a joke." Karami defended his reappointment, pointing to the massive street demonstration in Beirut Tuesday by Syria's supporters as "asserting our legitimacy." The US and other foreign governments are demanding that Syria and its allies in Lebanon not be involved in shaping a new administration. British Foreign Minister Jack Straw said Karami's reappointment made him "very unhappy."
At least 16 people - and perhaps many more - were killed when a terrorist exploded a bomb in the midst of a funeral in a Shiite Muslim mosque in Mosul, Iraq. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but the city has experienced many bombings in recent months as well as drive-by shootings targeting Iraq's security services and persons thought to be working with US forces and contractors.
Firing assault rifles into the air, dozens of Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade members broke up a meeting of new Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah organization in the West Bank city of Ramallah. No one was hurt, but the militants smashed windows and furniture and accused the attendees of plotting against Abbas's predecessor, Yasser Arafat, before his death. Analysts said the incident was yet another challenge to Abbas in his effort to bring lasting reform to Palestinian ranks and return to peace negotiations with Israel.
As expected, deeply unpopular Hong Kong Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa announced his resignation Thursday, saying "my health is not as good as it used to be." Tung insisted the move was his own idea, but analysts said he almost certainly was pressured by the Chinese government in Beijing to leave amid mounting public discontent with his performance in office. They said Chief Secretary Donald Tsang, who is expected to take over until Tung's term ends in mid-2007, probably will be kept on a tight leash, offering democracy activists little hope for meaningful political reform.