World

A key political party in Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari's United Iraqi Alliance said Tuesday it was ready to nominate a substitute candidate, all but ending his fight for a new term. But sources in the alliance said it still was searching for a face-saving way "to get us out of this impasse." For his part, Jaafari clung to his refusal to bow out of the picture, telling reporters he had "no choice but the choice made by the Iraqi people." He was nominated by a one-vote margin, and Kurds and Sunnis in the government said they will not serve in an administration that he heads.

At least 40 people were confirmed dead and dozens more were hurt in volatile Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday when a bomb exploded during a Sunni Muslim prayer ceremony in honor of the prophet Muhammad's birthday.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was refusing to concede defeat in Italy's national election Tuesday, but near-final returns indicated that the center-left alliance of rival Romano Prodi had won narrow victories in both houses of parliament. Prodi denied that the outcome showed Italy was "split in half" and pledged that his government would be "politically and technically strong." Berlusconi called for a recount of the votes.

Casualties mounted in the streets of Nepal's capital and a popular resort town Tuesday as police fired into the ranks of pro-democracy demonstrators with rubber bullets and clubbed them with batons. Dozens of people were hurt. The government of King Gyanendra imposed a new daytime curfew in Kathmandu and announced house-to-house searches for what it said were terrorists who have infiltrated the protests. An American doctor who set up a small clinic to treat people injured in the clashes accused police of invading it and attacking his patients. Gyanendra has been vacationing in Pokhara, the resort at the center of some of the protests.

Victory parades in cities across France were to take place Tuesday after the government backed down over the controversial youth-employment law that has led to weeks of protests by students and labor union members. A spokesman for the students said they'd keep up their guard until parliament passed new legislation to replace the so-called "easy-hire, easy-fire" law that President Jacques Chirac announced would be rescinded. But politicians and analysts split over what new measures may be enacted. With Chirac's presidency winding down, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said, "You don't reform the same way at the end of an administration as you do at the beginning."

For the second time in two days, Tamil separatist rebels denied responsibility for the deaths of Sri Lanka naval personnel. But the ambush of their bus Tuesday threw into doubt whether peace talks with the government that are scheduled for next week will be held. The attack took place as a convoy was carrying the sailors home from the port of Trincomalee for a holiday. It killed 11 and wounded at least 11 others, two of them British tourists traveling in the same convoy. On Monday, five sailors and two civilians involved in humanitarian aid work died in an identical attack. The peace talks are due to be held beginning Wednesday in Geneva. Some analysts speculated that the attacks are aimed at extracting concessions from the government beforehand.

The arrest of the most-wanted fugitive in Italy, Sicilian Mafia boss Bernardo Provenzano, was hailed as so significant that it took top billing in newscasts over coverage of the national election. Provenzano, who had been on the run for more than half his years, reportedly offered no resistance and confirmed his identity when police swarmed the farmhouse in which he was hiding near Corleone, Sicily. He is wanted for multiple murders and was sentenced in absentia to life behind bars for the 1992 killings of two magistrates.

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