World

In a rare occurrence, senior Hamas leaders spoke Hebrew in interviews on Israel Radio and for the newspaper Haaretz Tuesday, a move that analysts said could represent an effort to promote better mutual understanding. But the interviews broke no new ground, and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh repeated a pledge to "implement a cease-fire for many years" if Israel would pull back to its pre-1967 borders - which Israel's government insists it will not do. Haniyeh's Cabinet secretary, Ghazi Hamad, made clear that recognition of Israel is not on Hamas's agenda, although he said, "If there is security, I think it's good for you." The interviews took place as Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was about to meet with President Bush at the White House in Washington.

Against the backdrop of the interviews, Israeli troops and the Shin Bet security service captured the chief of Hamas's military wing in a predawn raid in Ramallah in the West Bank. Ibrahim Hamed surrendered without a fight. He had been on Israel's most-wanted list since 1998 for bombings and other attacks that killed 55 people and wounded hundreds of others.

Speaking as "the democratic president of a democratic republic," Serbian leader Boris Tadic said he accepts the outcome of Sunday's vote for independence in neighboring Monte-negro. Before that referendum, the two had been the only remnants of the former Yugoslavia. Tadic said he had supported the preservation of a joint state but recognizes "the free will of the Montenegran citizens." He appealed for "close cooperation" in the future. His Montenegran counterpart, Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, pledged that there would be no rush to establish independence without consulting the Serbian government. The two share armed forces and embassies in other capitals and they elect legislators to the same parliament.

Elite military units were rushed to protect vital industrial sites in and around Bangladesh's capital after thousands of angry factory employees went on a rampage Monday and Tuesday. More than a dozen plants were burned to the ground. At least 100 rioters were arrested. The violence erupted after employees of garment factories demanded improved pay, benefits, and working conditions and reportedly worsened at the news that a protester shot by police had died. The garment industry employs about 2 million people and earns the impoverished nation more than $6 billion a year in exports.

A civilian informant and 10 elite undercover antinarcotics policemen mistakenly were shot dead by Army troops in southwestern Colombia, the nation's defense minister announced late Monday. He told a news conference that the undercover officers wandered unknowingly into an Army patrol, and a firefight ensued. Elite antidrug units "don't consult with each other" or with military personnel to minimize the risk of leaking information about their work, he said. The incident was the second of its type this year in Colombia and came as voters prepare for Sunday's presidential election.

Citing "overwhelming new evidence" presented by the defense, a court in Ethiopia delayed its verdict in the genocide trial of former dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam Tuesday. It said the ruling would be issued Jan. 23 after adequate time was taken to evaluate documents that have yet to be translated into Amharic, Ethiopia's language. The trial has been held in absentia since Mengistu, who's accused of ordering the executions of thousands of opponents during his 17-year rule, lives in exile in Zimbabwe. Thirty-five members of his junta, however, have been present for the trial, now in its 12th year.

An apparent "mock dogfight" between Greek and Turkish Air Force jets ended in a midair collision over the Aegean Sea Tuesday. The pilot of the Turkish plane was rescued by a passing commercial ship; there was no immediate word on the Greek flyer. Greece claims a 10-mile coastal zone as its airspace. But Turkey recognizes only a six-mile zone and reserves the right to conduct training missions in what it calls international airspace. The rivals came close to war in 1996 over a territorial dispute but more recently have exchanged confidence-building measures aimed at easing tensions between them.

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