Donor nations prepared new efforts to help with the recovery from the second major earthquake to hit southeast Asia in three months. In Indonesia, authorities estimated the Monday night quake killed at least 1,000 people and perhaps twice that many. But although it caused widespread panic among residents still adjusting to conditions after the Dec. 26 temblor and tsunami, observers credited the region's governments with better preparedness this time. The 8.7 magnitude quake caused a far smaller tsunami that was heading south toward Australia.
Journalists were evicted from the second meeting of Iraq's parliament Tuesday and TV coverage abruptly ended after the session deteriorated into angry criticism over the delay in choosing a speaker and a new prime minister and president. The meeting was adjourned until the weekend, amid indications that at least one of the decisions would be made by then.
Exiled President Askar Akayev said he was ready to return to Kyrgyzstan to help organize a new national election. He told a radio interviewer in Russia that he considers parliament Speaker Omurbek Tekebayev the only legitimate leader of the former Soviet republic. But Tekebayev said any negotiations with Akayev would have to be confined to a transfer of power.
Reappointed Prime Minister Omar Karami will quit again - as soon as Wednesday - because he could not cobble together a new government for Lebanon, a member of his cabinet said. A Karami aide confirmed the assertion, on condition of anonymity. On March 10, the pro-Syrian Karami was asked by President Emile Lahoud to form another government after he stepped down the first time, but anti-Syrian opponents in parliament refused to join.
Another day of inflammatory remarks by President Robert Mugabe ratcheted tensions higher still in Zimbabwe as the nation prepared for Thursday's parliamentary election. The hard-line leader called "all those" who will vote for candidates of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change "traitors" - an accusation that evoked memories of past violence against MDC supporters by Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and its youth militia. On Monday, Mugabe called a senior Roman Catholic bishop "a halfwit" for advocating a peaceful uprising if the ruling party wins the election by fraud.