World

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the Shiite leader who pushed for a quick execution of Saddam Hussein, on Tuesday ordered an investigation of the conduct of Hussein's hanging. The focus of the probe is video taken clandestinely with a cellphone and aired on Al Jazeera television and the Internet. It showed a group of witnesses taunting the former Iraqi leader.

Demonstrations protesting Hussein's hanging, including one in his hometown of Tikrit, have mainly been peaceful, even in northern Baghdad, where men fired weapons into the air. Members of minority Sunni enclaves have reportedly been outraged that last week's execution occurred just four days after an appeals court upheld Hussein's conviction and sentence in the killing of 148 Shiite men and boys and that the execution fell on a major Muslim festival.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed Tuesday to humiliate the United States for its lead role in passing a UN resolution that imposes sanctions against Iran. The Iranian leader called the resolution, which penalizes his country for enriching uranium to develop its nuclear capabilities, invalid. The UN Security Council vote bars all countries from selling nuclear materials and technology to Iran, and freezes the assets of 10 Iranian companies.

Aviation officials said Tuesday that despite earlier reports, rescuers had not found the wreckage of an Indonesian jetliner 24 hours after it disappeared during stormy weather. The search is to continue Wednesday. Initial reports based on villager rumors, indicating that 90 bodies of the 102 people on board were found, proved false.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand on Tuesday endorsed the 100 people selected to draft the country's new constitution. They were picked by a group of generals involved in the nonviolent Sept. 19 coup that ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was accused of corruption and eroding democratic institutions. None of the constitution drafters holds military rank.

The Taliban plans to step up attacks against foreign troops in Afghanistan this year, rebel leader Mullah Dadullah said Tuesday. Although forced from power in 2001 by US-led troops, the Taliban reasserted itself in 2006, fomenting violence that led to 4,000 people killed on both sides, including 170 foreign troops.

The annual five-day hajj pilgrimage to the Islamic holy city of Mecca ended Monday without deadly crowding or violent clashes, Saudi Arabian security officials said. A well-coordinated security plan was credited with avoiding a repeat of last year's tragedy, when 362 of some 2.5 million pilgrims were crushed to death at the Jamarat Bridge, where 250 people died in 2004.

The Githabul Aboriginal tribe was granted joint management rights over 2,300 square miles of state and national parklands, Australian authorities announced Monday. The agreement, which stems from legal victories in the 1990s that have paved the way for such native title claims, will create a partnership with the New South Wales state government.

Oprah Winfrey kept her promise to former South African President Nelson Mandela and opened a a school Tuesday in Henly-on-Klip, a small town south of Johannesburg, for 152 girls from deprived backgrounds. Most of the students at the $40 million Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls come from families linked to HIV/AIDS. The school intends to be a model in the post-apartheid era.

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said Tuesday that the transfer of a US Marine convicted of rape from a local jail to the American Embassy was carried out to help forestall "further deterioration" in strategic relations with the US. According to a 1988 agreement, any accused US servicemen are supposed to remain in American custody until all judicial proceedings are exhausted.

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