World

An arrest warrant was issued for the minister of culture in Iraq's government Tuesday for allegedly ordering the assassination of a leading Sunni politician. Asad Kamal al-Hashimi, also a Sunni, would be the first cabinet member taken into custody as Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki tries to implement a crackdown on sectarian violence. But Hashimi reportedly was on a visit to neighboring Jordan, and it was unclear when the warrant could be executed. The targeted politician survived the attempt in 2005, but his two sons were killed.

"Very senior" military sources have confirmed that Iranian troops were seen crossing into southern Iraq for attacks on coalition forces there, the (London) Sun reported. It said at least two British soldiers "were thought to have been killed" in such attacks, on top of 44 others whose deaths came in explosions of bombs, rockets, and mortar shells that "originated in Iran."

NATO and Russian leaders sought to give the appearance of cooperation as two days of meetings began on bridging their deep differences. But NATO chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer (above, l., being welcomed by President Vladimir Putin) acknowledged that "the task of building a genuine partnership ... has never been an easy one." They are split on such issues as the missile-defense shield that the US proposes to build in eastern Europe and on accusations that the Kremlin uses its vast energy resources to intimidate its neighbors. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov led off the talks by warning against any measures that would compromise Russian security.

Five street-cleaners, all of them women, were killed in Somalia's capital Tuesday when a bomb exploded under rubbish they were removing. Nine other people were hurt in the blast, the latest in an almost daily series of incidents blamed on Islamist militants who were ousted from power last December.

Oil industry giants ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil were expected to withdraw from Venezuela after failing to agree with its government on compensation for their holdings there. In nationalizing foreign-owned projects in the Orinoco Basin, Chávez set Tuesday as the deadline for the companies involved to accept his government's payment terms. A Venezuelan official said four other oil companies, among them Chevron of the US, planned to sign an agreement accepting the offer, although any such deal still must be OK'd by the Chávez-dominated Congress.

Costly turf battles are causing Mexico's two biggest drug cartels to seek a "nonaggression pact," law-enforcement officials confirmed.But they disputed reports that President Felipe Calderón's government may be involved in the effort. The Associated Press reported that the Sinaloa and Gulf cartels have been seeking ways to stop fighting over control of lucrative trafficking corridors to the US market while at the same time trying to fend off a crackdown on drug-related violence by the government.

Cyclone Yemyin brought high winds and torrential new rains to Pakistan Tuesday, deepening the misery of a region already waterlogged from monsoon-season precipitation. In Baluchistan Province at least 10 more people died, and 18 fishing boats were missing. The deaths of at least 228 people last weekend in Karachi were blamed on the flooding; 146 others were reported dead in neighboring India. Below, currents wash away a section of coastal highway in Baluchistan.

Engineers were struggling to reinforce a wall holding back a 35-acre reservoir in north-central England before it burst under the pressure of heavy rains. Flooding in the area caused hundreds of people to flee their homes. Residents of Sheffield, which was virtually cut off from the rest of the country, called the situation there the worst in memory. At the same time in continental Europe, a searing heat wave was blamed for at least 30 deaths.

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