New charges of genocide were lodged against ex-dictator Saddam Hussein and six codefendants by Iraq's special tribunal. The move means that Hussein, whose current trial is in recess, could be forced to begin another as soon as next month. The new case involves his alleged role in a three-pronged offensive against the Kurdish minority in the late 1980s. President Jalal Talabani said Tuesday that he expected Hussein to be tried on every charge against him before the tribunal reaches a verdict.
The acting prime minister of Israel and the leader of the opposition Labor Party announced agreement to form a new government. Ehud Olmert of the Kadima Party and Amir Peretz said they'd open negotiations as soon as Israel's president invites Olmert to put together a coalition. Kadima won the most seats in parliament - 29 - in the March 28 election. Labor finished second, with 19 seats. They will need the help of at least two other parties to achieve a majority in the 120-seat Knesset.
The six countries that have participated in unsuccessful talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons program will meet again next week, the US Embassy in Japan said. But it called the get-together unofficial and private. The US, Japan, both Koreas, Russia, and China last met in September, and a breakthrough appeared imminent when North Korea agreed to halt its nuclear program in return for security guarantees and aid. But no progress has been made on implementing the agreement, and relations with the US and with Japan have since deteriorated. The new talks will take place in Japan, the US Embassy said.
The nationwide protests against France's controversial new law on youth employment drew hundreds of thousands of people to the streets of Paris, Marseilles, and other cities. But they appeared to be far less disruptive than organizers had hoped, and analysts questioned whether the effectiveness of such demonstrations had run its course. Union leaders who have supported the protests by students said they'd probably accept an invitation to meet Wednesday with key members of parliament for negotiations on a new version of the law.
Weeks of protests aimed at toppling Thailand's prime minister achieved their goal Tuesday when Thaksin Shinawatra announced his resignation. He said Thailand had "no time to quarrel" and he wanted to see "people unite and forget what has happened." Thaksin said he will remain in a caretaker role until the new parliament meets, although it was unclear when that would happen. His Thai Rak Thai Party easily won an early national election Sunday. The voting was boycotted by the main opposition parties, however, and 38 Thai Rak Thai candidates failed to attract the minimum 20 percent of the vote required for assuming office.
With a four-day nationwide general strike due to begin Thursday, Nepal's government banned all forms of public protest, effective immediately. Opposition leaders quickly declared their intention to defy it. The nation's seven political parties and communist rebel movement agreed in November to work together to end the rule of widely unpopular King Gyenendra, but organizers said the rebels wouldn't take part in the protests in Kathmandu and other cities. The rebels, however, declared a temporary halt Monday to hostilities around the capital - a move aimed at making the protests more effective.
A mother of eight children and a chemical engineer became the first women to seek political office in Kuwait as voters went to the polls Tuesday to fill one vacancy on the emirate's 16-seat Municipal Council. Women also were voting for the first time since being granted equal political rights last year, but were required to cast ballots in segregated booths. The field of candidates included six men.