With his arrival Tuesday in Cape Town, Russian President Vladimir Putin became the first Russian head of state to visit South Africa. Putin's two-day visit is aimed at forging economic ties and strengthening political cooperation. The two countries were poised to enter into a number of partnership agreements, including possibly one on outer space exploration, an area that interests South African officials. expected to emerge from the meeting. Discussions about the Middle East crisis and Iran's nuclear ambitions are also on the agenda.
Thousands of Palestinian security officers stormed the parliamentary compound in Gaza Tuesday, smashing windows and demanding to be paid by the Hamas-led government. The demonstration, the largest since Hamas took power by winning January's general election, was an outgrowth of a strike, begun Saturday, by government employees angry because they haven't been paid. The new Islamic militant government has struggled financially since international donors applied sanctions against it until Hamas recognizes Israel and renounces violence.
Danish police arrested nine ethnic Danes and immigrants Tuesday in connection with an unspecified terrorist attack. Officials said it was hard to evaluate how far along the plot was when they apprehended the suspects in a mostly immigrant suburb of Odense, Denmark's third-largest city.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair will probably quit next year, the Associated Press quoted Cabinet minister David Miliband as saying Tuesday. The assessment came in the wake of a memo leaked to the Daily Mirror that reportedly mapped out Blair's departure from office. Last week, he shrugged off demands that he set a time frame for his departure during the Labour Party's annual conference later this month.
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad urged students to return to 1980s-style radicalism while calling Tuesday for a purging of liberal and secular teachers from Iranian universities.
NATO said Tuesday that its major ground offensive had cornered Taliban fighters in their southern Afghanistan stronghold in Kandahar Province. Meanwhile, Pakistan signed a peace deal with pro-Taliban militants to prevent their attacks on both Pakistan and across the border in Afghanistan.
On Tuesday, Russia called off this year's joint military training with 200 US service members in central Russia, scheduled to begin later this month. Similar training was held in Russian territory last year, but Moscow has grown uneasy with NATO's expansion toward its borders.
As Turkey's parliament debated a government plan Tuesday to send hundreds of troops to join a UN peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon, thousands of people took to the streets of Ankara, the capital, to demonstrate against the proposal. Turkish Muslims and leftists oppose sending soldiers to possibly fight other Muslims in an effort they believe mainly serves Israeli and US interests. Turkey has ties to both Israel and Arab countries.
India's intelligence agencies believe Islamic militant groups could target the country's economic, religious, and nuclear sites, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told a security conference in New Delhi Tuesday.
The British government remains committed to increasing the Catholic presence within Northern Ireland's predominantly Protestant police force, Security Minister Paul Goggins said Tuesday. Protestant leaders have urged an end to what they consider discriminatory and illegal affirmative action, but the government, for now, intends to continue toward its goal of creating a 30 percent Catholic police force by 2011. The decision is currently under review.