Another apparent incident of sectarian violence resulted in the deaths of 20 people northeast of Baghdad Wednesday as US Defense Secretary Rumsfeld made an unannounced visit to Iraq. An Iraqi military spokesmen said the dead, who'd been seized by gunmen from a bus station, all were Shiites, although that couldn't be confirmed. Four others were rescued. In a speech Tuesday in Washington, US Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad said it was "imperative" that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government "make major progress in dealing with this challenge in the next six months." Rumsfeld, for his part, said Iraqi security now rests as much on "the reconciliation process" among ethnic groups as it does on "beating the insurgency militarily."
The winner of Mexico's disputed presidential election, Felipe Calderon, said he'd accept a partial recount of votes. But in a move that angered leftist challenger Andres Manuel López Obrador, he formed a transition staff to reach out to possible coalition partners and announced plans for a national victory tour. López Obrador countered by calling Calderon's followers "fascists" and said his own supporters would march on Mexico City Wednesday. The Federal Electoral Court, which has until Sept. 6 to declare the official winner, has said it could order a partial – but not full – recount.
Microsoft Corp. vowed to appeal a new $357 million fine imposed by the European Union for its alleged failure to obey an order to share technical information with rivals. Moreover, the EU said the fine, announced by competition commissioner Neelie Kroes, will double by a rate of $3.82 million a day beginning July 31 unless the company supplies "complete and accurate" data so that rivals can develop software that works smoothly with its Windows operating system. The new penalty comes on top of the $630 million that Microsoft was fined in 2004 for what the EU called monopolistic trade practices in Europe.
Amid the lowest security presence by British troops since 1970, tens of thousands of Orange Order Protestants marched in Northern Ireland's cities and towns in the annual commemoration of a historic military victory over Catholics. The low alert status left police largely alone to deal with any backlash by Catholics, who see the parades as provocative. Last year's July 12 march in Belfast led to a barrage of gasoline bombs and rocks thrown by Catholics. By midday, no major trouble was reported, although police said someone torched an Orange Order meeting hall in County Antrim and that another in Londonderry was vandalized.
Dissidents who accept any of the money from a new US plan to promote political change in Cuba will "face the consequences," the communist-led country's government warned. National Assembly leader Ricardo Alarcon called the $80 million project approved Monday by President Bush a "delirious provocation." It was drawn up by the US Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba and seeks to provide "uncensored information" to residents who want change after 47 years of rule by Fidel Castro. At least one former political prisoner told the Miami Herald he'd accept some of the US aid because "we need materials, equipment, clothes – everything."
Pleased government officials said Wednesday that Poland and "historical truth" both had won a victory after the UN agreed to rename one of its world heritage sites "The Former Nazi German Concentration Camp at Ausch-witz." About 1.5 million people, most of them Jews, were put to death at the facility outside Oswiecim, Poland, in World War II. The German and Israeli governments also agreed to the name-change. Poland requested the change on grounds that the previous name, "Auschwitz Concentration Camp," left a "misconception" that it was Polish-run.