World

Rejecting foreign criticism of Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said it would continue indefinitely and that he wouldn't trade Palestinian prisoners for captured soldier Galid Shalit. Israeli forces have killed at least 43 Palestinians in Gaza since the offensive began. Olmert lashed out particularly at European critics, asking why they did not condemn Palestinian rocket attacks against Israelis. Speaking after Olmert, in his first public appearance since Shalit was captured June 25, Hamas leader Khalid Meshaal said the hostage was being kept alive but would be freed only after Palestinian prisoners were released.

Saddam Hussein, most of his codefendants, and their lawyers boycotted Monday's session of their trial in Iraq, even though it was reserved for closing arguments by the defense. A source said they wouldn't return to the courtroom until improved security measures were in place and other demands had been met. One of Hussein's lawyers was murdered last month. The chief judge dismissed the demands and said other lawyers had been appointed to replace those who were absent. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki appealed to Iraqis to "unite as brothers" after new sectarian violence killed at least 12 more people and wounded 62 others Monday.

Gun battles between Islamist militiamen and fighters loyal to Somali warlords extended into a second day in the capital, Moga-dishu, and hospital sources said the number of deaths had passed 60. Islamist leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys accused President Bush of using the warlords "to kill people" and said his militia had "no other option but to fight to the finish." But because of the violence, the deputy prime minister of Somalia's fledgling government said the Islamists should be excluded from peace negotiations scheduled for this weekend.

Over the protests of journalists and opposition leaders, Egypt's parliament approved a new law that upholds the ability of judges to send reporters to jail for stories critical of the government. Critics said the measure demonstrated the insincerity of President Hosni Mubarak, who had pledged to allow more po-litical freedom and to put an end to the jailing of journalists. In a last-minute concession, the lawmakers removed a clause in the law that would have OK'd jail terms for impugning the integrity of anyone in the government's employ. On the other hand, they also raised the maximum fines that can be imposed on reporters for libel and other offenses. In anticipation of passage, Egypt's opposition and independent newspapers did not publish Sunday's editions.

In a 900-page filing, lawyers for leftist candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador asked Mexico's Federal Electoral Court to order a recount by hand of the July 2 presidential ballots that gave rival Felipe Calderón an apparent victory. The complaint alleges, in part, that some polling places reported more votes than registered voters and that the computer software used in the original vote-count had skewed the outcome. But in an interview published prior to receiving the filing, its chief judge hinted that López Obrador may not like the ultimate decision. He said a full recount would be both illegal and impractical, although one could be ordered at specific polling places where results appeared questionable.

No survivors were found in the crash of a propeller-driven Pakistani airliner Monday. The plane, carrying 41 passengers and a crew of four, went down on takeoff from Multan in eastern Pakistan on a flight that was to go to Lahore. There was no immediate explanation for the cause, although authorities ruled out terrorism.

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