Jubilation at being chosen to stage the 2012 Olympic Games turned to anguish in London as terrorist attacks on the city's subway and bus systems killed at least 33 people and injured more than 360 others. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the morning rush-hour explosions, which occurred without warning, claiming they were in retaliation for Britain's role in the fighting and reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Authorities ordered a shutdown of the city's entire public transit system, and reports said extensive security precautions also were being imposed in other European cities. Prime Minister Tony Blair rushed back to London from the Group of Eight (G-8) summit meeting in Scotland. Queen Elizabeth II said in an official statement: "The dreadful events ... have deeply shocked us all."
The G-8 conference that was supposed to be taking up the issues of climate change and poverty in Africa instead devoted its opening session to producing a condemnation of the bombings in London. It read, in part: "All of our countries have suffered from the impact of terrorism.... We are united in our resolve to defeat [it]." Discussions on the original agenda are to resume Friday.
Al Qaeda also claimed in a website posting that it had carried out its threat to kill the kidnapped Egyptian ambassador to Iraq. But in a departure from past executions, an accompanying video did not show Ihab al-Sherif's death. Meanwhile, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani told a conference of Shiite Muslim clerics that a draft of the nation's new constitution would be completed by the Aug. 15 deadline. The proposed charter is scheduled to be voted on in a nationwide referendum in October. It must be ratified before the December election for a permanent government.
Repeating her vow not to resign, embattled Philippines President Gloria Arroyo told the nation in a televised speech Thursday that she has asked her entire cabinet to resign so replacements can give her "a free hand in governance." She added: "The political system that I am part of has degenerated to the point that it needs fundamental change." The speech was her second in two weeks. Earlier, she apologized for a "lapse in judgment" for telling an elections official as ballots were being counted last year that she wanted at least a 1 million-vote margin of victory.