World

Although no open opposition has emerged to Thailand's junta, the new military regime said Thursday that it is banning political meetings and the establishment of new parties in order to maintain order. Gen. Sondhi Boonyaratkalin, the Army commander who led the overthrow of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, has accused him of corruption and abuse of power. In London, where Thaksin fled, he urged the military leaders to quickly arrange national elections.

Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany, who has refused to step down, called Thursday for his first face-to-face meeting with parliamentary leaders since large-scale demonstrations against him this week. Demonstrators, whose numbers ebbed after three nights of violence, have demanded he resign following leaks of his taped comments that he'd "lied morning, evening, and night" about the economy. Gyurcsany said he'd press ahead with economic reforms.

Italian troops in Iraq handed over security responsibility for the southern province of Dhi Qar to Iraqi forces on Thursday, making it the second of the country's 18 provinces to come under local control.

In Yemen, a coalition of opposition parties accused President Ali Abdullah Saleh's ruling party of disrupting vote-counting during midweek elections in which Saleh faced his first real challenge in 28 years. Opposition officials disputed the preliminary results that showed Saleh receiving 60 percent of the vote as "fictional." The election is a major test of the incumbent's promises for democratic reform.

Searchers in Kazakhstan found the body of the last missing miner from Wednesday's methane explosion, which raised the death toll at the Arcelor Mittal-owned coal mine to 41. Officials said that the Central Asian nation's worst such accident in years may have occurred when electricity was turned on in an improperly ventilated area. Meanwhile, in Ukraine, prosecutors launched a probe to determine if safety rules were violated in a coal pit where a methane gas leak killed 13 miners this week. Ukrainian mines are considered among the most dangerous in the world.

For the first time since Japan's worst-ever nuclear accident killed five plant workers in 2004, the Kinsai Electric Power Co. was scheduled to restart the repaired reactor Thursday. Japan uses 52 nuclear reactors to generate 35 percent of its electricity.

In a rare triumph for opponents of Japan's growing emphasis on patriotism, a Tokyo court ruled unconstitutional Thursday an order forcing city teachers to stand for the national flag and sing an anthem to the emperor.

A spokesman for the Islamic militias which already control much of southern Somalia said Thursday that they plan to take over the strategic port of Kismayo and close the border with Kenya, which could prevent the deployment of regional peacekeepers that neighboring countries consider necessary to stabilize the volatile area.

The biennial Ryder Cup golf competition between European and US men's teams is scheduled to tee off Friday, weather permitting, at the K Club outside Dublin, Ireland, where high winds disrupted practice rounds. It is the biggest international sports event ever staged on the Emerald Isle. Europe won the cup by a record margin in Michigan two years ago.

In Berlin Thursday, police, acting on a warrant issued by Denmark, arrested Soeren Kam, a former member of the Nazi SS. Kam had a murder case against him dropped in 1971 for lack of evidence, but Danish authorities have since determined that Kam should be tried for the shooting death in 1943 of a Danish newspaper editor.

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