Fifty-seven more people were killed in violence across Iraq Thursday – many of them in car-bomb explosions that US and Iraqi forces are struggling to stop. Twenty of the dead were found beheaded in a Sunni town near Baghdad. Tensions also rose because of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's vow to proceed with a July 5 march to the Askariya shrine in Samarra, which twice has been bombed. Sunni groups and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki have urged that the march be canceled lest it escalate violence even more.
Women's rights activists and his accusers condemned a deal that ended the year-long criminal investigation of Israeli President Moshe Katsav. Katsav, pleaded guilty to sexual harassment and obstruction of justice and resigned his office. But rape charges against him were dropped, and he won't have to go to prison. The presidency is largely a ceremonial post, but its occupant is looked to for moral authority and as a unifier in times of trouble.
Accusing rival Eritrea of not cooperating in efforts to end their long-running border dispute, the prime minister of Ethiopia announced a military buildup to deter a possible invasion. Meles Zenawi told parliament that the buildup "is deemed necessary" to strengthen the capacity for deterrence "by the day." Ethiopia and Eritrea fought over the border from 1998 to 2000 and back opposite sides in neighboring Somalia's struggle against Islamist militants.
An estimated 800,000 people are stranded because of severe flooding in Pakistan, but helicopters finally are dropping food and supplies and conducting rescue operations, provincial officials said Thursday. Cyclone Yemyin struck the region Tuesday, killing at least 17 people, but ongoing rains are worsening the situation. In addition, water levels in a dam near the border with Iran are so high that it may have to be breached to relieve the pressure, the officials said.
Nineteen suspected drug traffickers were killed in gunfights with police in a Rio de Janeiro slum Wednesday, the latest incident in a siege that is in its second month. A police officer and 10 noncombatants were wounded in the five-hour clash. Law-enforcement officials said the police would remain in the area to keep drug gangs from regrouping. The city is aiming to gain control over a rampant crime problem in time for the opening of the Pan American Games, which it will stage beginning July 13.
An important test of leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador's political viability looms Sunday with a hoped-for massive march on Mexico City's central plaza, analysts said. The former mayor, who narrowly lost last summer's presidential election, has implored supporters to turn out for the rally on the first anniversary of that vote. In the weeks following, he drew massive crowds to protest rallies, and recent polls show 38 percent of Mexicans still believe the election was stolen from him.
Weeks of relative calm failed to hold in East Timor as supporters of rival political parties fought in the streets and foreign peacekeepers fired tear gas to keep the two sides apart before Saturday's election for a new parliament. At least 13 people were hurt.Analysts said they expected the ruling Fretilin Party to take heavy losses as voters shift to candidates of former President Xanana Gusmao's National Congress for the Reconstruction of East Timor, but perhaps not in great enough numbers for an absolute majority.
A passenger jet crashed on landing in northern Angola Thursday and slammed into a house, killing at least six people, early reports said. The plane belonged to Angola Airlines and was believed to be carrying 78 passengers and crew members on a domestic flight.