World

Iraq's prime minister will visit Washington "in one week" for discussions with President Bush on giving his government more power to deal with security issues, an informed source said Sunday. The development came as sectarian violence took another turn for the worse over the weekend, with masked gunmen setting up a checkpoint in Baghdad, and killing at least 38 Sunnis. Among the dead were women and children, but a senior Shiite politician said the gunmen were targeting only militants who'd killed Shiites.

Iran claimed Sunday that not all of its questions on the offer of incentives to stop enriching uranium had been answered and that it stood by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Aug. 22 timetable for announcing whether it would accept. Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki also warned the Group of Eight industrialized nations not to come to any decisions affecting the offer at their summit later this week without consulting his government first. Doing so, he said, "could harm" the process.

Defeated presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said his attorneys would submit evidence of fraud to Mexico's Federal Electoral Court Sunday night, the next step in his bid to reverse opponent Felipe Calderon's apparent victory. A computerized recount gave Calderon a 0.6 percent margin out of 41 million ballots cast, but Lopez Obrador is demanding a recount by hand. Buoyed by a massive protest by supporters in the streets of Mexico City Saturday, he would not say whether he'd accept a ruling by the court if it went against him.

Heavy casualties were reported in Somalia's capital as the Islamists who seized it last month routed the militias of two secular warlords who'd rejected demands to surrender. At least 19 people died in the fighting Sunday and dozens of others were wounded. The two sides had agreed last month not to resume hostilities, but reports said the Islamists first sealed off escape routes from enclaves controlled for years by the secular clans, then attacked them.

Newly appointed Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta is to take his oath of office Monday in East Timor. The naming of the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize-winner over the weekend by President Xanana Gusmao appeared to be welcomed by many Timorese. He had held both the foreign and defense porfolios in ousted Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri's government. While he is not a member of the Fretilin Party, which controls parliament, he was one of its founders. Ramos-Horta is expected to govern until a national election can be held next year.

Pro-Russian candidate Viktor Yanukovych appeared on course to assume the prime ministership of Ukraine after the coalition that emerged from the 2004 Orange Revolution fell apart and one of its members agreed to join his Party of Regions in forming a new government. The Socialist Party broke ranks with President Viktor Yushchenko's Our Ukraine Party and the bloc controlled by former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who would have returned to her old job had their coalition not been too weak to survive. Yanukovych invited his rivals to join the new grouping, but Tymoshenko rejected the offer. Yushchenko has yet to give his answer.

In the first major breakthrough in two years, the leaders of the Greek and Turkish sectors of Cyprus agreed to a framework for resumed talks on reunification. Visiting UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari said "technical committees" would begin work by the end of the month on issues that "affect the day-to-day life of people." More problematic core issues will be discussed in parallel, he said. Peace efforts stalled in April 2004, when Greek Cypriots voted down a UN blueprint for unification. Turkish Cypriots, in a simultaneous referendum, backed the plan overwhelmingly.

A national day of mourning was declared by President Vladimir Putin for the victims of one of the worst plane crashes in Russian history. An Airbus A-310 jet skidded off a wet runway at Irkutsk Sunday and rammed a concrete wall and nearby buildings. At least 122 of the 201 people aboard were killed; 68 others were hospitalized. The plane was carrying vacationers from Moscow to Lake Baikal, a popular summer resort.

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