Iraq's new prime minister- designate was presenting his nominees for positions in the cabinet to President Jalal Talabani as the Monitor went to press, amid expectations that the National Assembly, or parliament, would vote on them as soon as Wednesday. No details were immediately available, but informed sources said Ibrahim al-Jaafari had proposed 32 ministries, to be divided among Iraq's Shiite, Kurdish, Sunni, and Christian factions. Jaafari regained momentum for finalizing the list late Monday after Sunni politicians dropped their demand that former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party be given cabinet jobs.Skip to next paragraph
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UN inspectors were sent to verify the claim by Syria that the last of its troops had been withdrawn from neighboring Lebanon. The pullout ended 29 years of occupation. It had other implications as well: Lebanon's pro-Syrian chief of security services resigned and a senior colleague fled the country with his family. Meanwhile, analysts said the withdrawal could trigger major internal change in Syria, amid continuing US efforts to isolate President Bashar Assad's government diplomatically. It also could embolden Assad's political rivals, who will see him as the president who "lost" Lebanon, the analysts said.
Associates and friends of former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once Russia's richest man, were hoping for the best but bracing for the worst as his fraud and tax-evasion trial ends Wednesday in Moscow with the judge announcing the verdict and his sentence, if convicted. Prosecutors have asked that he be returned to prison for 10 years.
More violence erupted in the streets of Togo's capital as opposition supporters protested the announcement of Faure Gnassingbe as the winner of the presidential election Sunday. Officials said he took 60 percent of the vote, compared to 38 percent for his closest challenger. Gnassingbe vowed to form a government of national unity. But runner-up Bob Akitani's Union of Forces for Change party said it "will never" accept Gnassingbe as president.
Two more survivors were pulled from the wreckage of a Japanese commuter train that left the tracks Monday. But the number of deaths from the accident rose to 76. Railway officials said the train operator's records indicated he had been issued a warning less than a year ago for overshooting a station because of excess speed.