Sunni extremists were blamed for Saturday's powerful truck bomb explosion in northern Iraq, which killed at least 150 people and wounded 250 others. Many of the casualties were women and children. Reports said the attack was the second-largest of its type since the US-led invasion four years ago. Another truck bomb blast Sunday killed or wounded 50 Army recruits near Baghdad.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
The largest bloc of Sunnis in Iraq's parliament is planning to seek a vote of no-confidence next Sunday against Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, CBS News reported. The move is aimed at replacing his government with one composed of ministers known for their expertise rather than for party loyalty, CBS said.
Commandos breached the walls of a mosque compound in Pakistan's capital Sunday in the hope of offering escape routes to women and children still inside. But although President Pervez Musharraf gave the radicals in the mosque a surrender-or-be-killed ultimatum, the cleric leading them said they preferred "martyrdom" and hoped their deaths would trigger an Islamic revolution in Pakistan. To date, at least 21 people have died in the standoff around the Red Mosque since it began July 3. Above, residents of the neighborhood around the mosque take advantage of a break in the curfew to leave.
Israel's cabinet approved the release of 250 prisoners in another gesture of support for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. But the timing and the names of those to be freed had not been finalized, reports said. The release would be the first since February 2005, when Israel sought to bolster Abbas by letting 500 Palestinians out of jail. More recently, it transferred more than $100 million in impounded tax receipts to Abbas and pledged to ease travel restrictions in the West Bank.
Police insisted they had information that a child of 3 "may" be freed late Sunday by her kidnappers in Nigeria's oil region. But her anguished mother (l.) said she lacked the money to pay a ransom demanded for the release. The child was seized by gunmen last week en route to preschool classes. Reports said the kidnappers also demanded that her father, who is British, take her place. But he is ill and was scheduled to fly home for medical treatment, the BBC said.
Sixteen more retailers were arrested in Zimbabwe after President Robert Mugabe's government proclaimed a new law making it a crime for merchants not to lower their prices by at least 50 percent. The Sunday Mail newspaper reported that police and government inspectors also had caught gas station operators trying to close by disconnecting the power supply to their pumps. In all, 73 vendors, merchants, or retail-chain executives have been detained since late last week for disobeying Mugabe's orders to cut prices.
As many as 10,000 protesters poured into the streets of Nepal's capital over the weekend, angered at three days of birthday celebrations for King Gyanendra. At least nine people – two of them policemen – were hurt in confrontations with supporters of the king. Although Gyenendra has been stripped of virtually all power, opponents said the celebrations were taking place at public expense and were part of a conspiracy to block the return of democracy.
In a bow to conservatives, Pope Benedict XVI freed Roman Catholic priests to conduct mass in the traditional Latin if requested by "a stable group of [the] faithful." Analysts said the move constitutes a reaching out to followers of bishops who were excommunicated in 1988 for defying the Vatican II decision to authorize mass in the vernacular. Currently, mass may be conducted in Latin only if OK'd by local bishops. Jewish groups sought clarification of the move, since the Latin mass includes a prayer for their conversion to Catholicism.