World

Claiming to "have no choice," Hamas fired eight more rockets into southern Israel Monday, rejecting a call by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for a new truce with the Jewish state. The rockets have killed two Israelis in less than a week and wounded a third. For its part, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government authorized the Army to "do whatever [is] necessary" in Gaza to stop the rocket launches. But no large-scale offensive appeared imminent, and Olmert conceded that there was no ideal solution to the problem.

Actors, technicians, news people, and others on the staff of Venezuela's most widely watched TV network wept as it went off the air at midnight Sunday. President Hugo Chávez refused to renew the license of RCTV, which he accused of "coup-plotting," and replaced it with a "public service" channel that will broadcast material promoting his socialist agenda. Earlier in the day, police blasted Chávez opponents with water cannon and tear gas as they protested the shutdown in the streets of Caracas.

All 197 supporters of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change who were arrested in a raid on their headquarters were freed without charge Monday. But their lawyers said some had been beaten. The arrests came as police announced plans to recruit 21,000 more officers, which would almost double their ranks, and an aide to President Robert Mugabe acknowledged that the government's new plan to seize all foreign-owned businesses is aimed particularly at British banks.

Police in northeastern Spain arrested 15 more people – all believed to be ethnic Moroccans – Monday in a crackdown against Islamist militants. But they wouldn't confirm reports that the detainees are suspected of recruiting volunteers to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq. More than 100 Islamist suspects have been taken into custody since the 2004 train bombings in Madrid. Still, analysts said the terrorist threat level to Spain remains low compared to that of a decade ago.

More than two dozen Buddhist school teachers have asked to be transferred out of southern Thailand because they feel insecure there, the Bangkok Post reported Monday. It quoted the chief of the regional teachers' federation as saying the requests are certain to rise in proportion to acts of violence attributed to Muslim separatists. Most incidents have been confined to three Muslim- majority provinces, but over the weekend four people died and 38 others were hurt in a wave of bombings in nearby Songkhla and Hat Yai provinces.

For the second time in less than a week, Tamil rebels were blamed for a bomb explosion aimed at military targets in Sri Lanka's capital. Reports Monday said a blast killed one commandos and wounded four others plus 20 civilians in a Colombo suburb. Last Thursday, a bomb killed a soldier and wounded six other people in the heart of the city as the separatists become ever bolder in their attacks.

Supporters of the junta in Burma (Myanmar) taunted democracy activists and blocked them from the site of a planned prayer vigil Monday for their leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. Over the weekend, the junta ordered Suu Kyi to spend another year under house arrest. Seventeen years ago Wednesday, her National League National League for Democracy won a sweeping election victory,only to have it overturned by the Army,.

Almost immediate doubt was cast on the compromise by Ukraine's feuding leaders to hold an early election for a new parliament. Last weekend, President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich set Sept. 30 for the vote as a way out of the nation's political crisis. But a Yanukovich aide said Monday that all of Yushchenko's allies in parliament must resign or "there is no way" the election will be held. Analysts say the election is virtually certain to be marked by the same political divisions that have led to the feud.

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