Using "Al Qaeda" tactics, a terrorist slipped past an idle security scanner and triggered an explosive vest inside Iraq's parliament Thursday, killing himself and at least two Sunni legislators as they sat at lunch. Ten others were hurt. The bold attack followed a powerful truck bomb explosion earlier in the day that collapsed a main bridge in Baghdad, sending other vehicles into the Tigris River. Thirty-six people were killed or hurt, and SCUBA divers were searching the water for survivors.
Military commanders asked Turkey's government for the OK to cross the border with Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish separatist rebels. Iraq's leaders have warned against such an incursion, and US military chiefs there also strongly oppose the idea. But earlier this week, the Turkish government demanded a crackdown in Iraq against Kurdish guerrillas who, they said, have "huge freedom of movement in Iraq." In recent days, 39 people have been killed in clashes between Turkish troops and the rebels.
In a landmark address to Japan's parliament, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jibao sought reconciliation of the strains that have divided their nations since the 1930s. Wen said China had experienced indescribable pain because of Japanese invasions. But he characterized most Japanese people as victims also of a few militarist leaders. His visit to Tokyo was the first by a Chinese head of government in seven years.
A bomb exploded in a busy market in Thailand's Yala Province Thursday, wounding 11 people as furious Buddhists were demonstrating nearby for increased protection against Muslim separatists. With no sign that Army and police efforts have made a dent in the violence so far, Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont told journalists in Bangkok he was "very worried" about the situation. The Buddhist protest began Wednesday after separatists shot a woman on her way to work and then set her on fire as she tried to crawl for help.
Consecutive national holidays were declared Thursday and Friday by Nigeria's government so voters can return to their hometowns for state elections this weekend. But the decree drew immediate fire from critics because it also has the effect of delaying until at least Monday a Supreme Court hearing on whether Vice President Atiku Abubakar may run next week as a candidate to succeed chief executive and former ally Olusegun Obasanjo. Abubakar is appealing an Elections Commission ruling that bars his candidacy because of fraud charges.
The political crisis in Ukraine took a new turn Thursday as President Viktor Yushchenko said his order to dissolve parliament and hold a new national election must stand after all. An aide had said Wednesday that Yushchenko was willing to suspend the order, which has angered his rival, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, and the latter's supporters in the legislature. Yushchenko said, however, that "if there is a political desire," he could postpone the May 27 date for the election.
A "final push" against Tamil separatist rebels in eastern Sri Lanka was under way, military spokesmen said, declaring that the cease-fire between the two sides no longer has any meaning. They said the offensive "will not take more than two months" since only one major concentration of rebels remains there. Agence France-Presse reported that cellphone service in the region has been stopped to deny the rebels their favorite form of communication and to keep them from detonating roadside bombs by remote control.
Prime Minister and 1996 Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos-Horta was denied a recount by East Timor's elections commission. Ramos-Horta trailed ruling Fretilin Party candidate by a 29 percent to 23 percent margin as ballot-counting from Monday's presidential election neared completion. A May 8 runoff between them appears all but certain.