Truck and car bombs exploded in Kirkuk, Iraq, Monday, killing at least 80 people, wounding more than 180 others, and causing heavy property damage in the worst terrorist attack there since the start of the war. Suspicion quickly fell on Sunni extremists moving north out of Baghdad ahead of the offensive by US and Iraqi troops. Kirkuk, a center of the oil industry, had been relatively calm, although tensions between its Kurdish and Arab residents tend to run deep
Tribal elders from Pakistan's border region met with a representative of the government Monday to try to salvage the peace deal that militants renounced 24 hours earlier, Agence France-Presse reported. The pact called for the pro-Taliban tribesmen to halt raids into Afghanistan and hunt down foreign militants who hide in the region. But it was torn up in protest over the deployment of government troops with orders to root out extremists. Militant attacks on troops over the weekend killed more than 70 people.
Thirty-five leading opponents of Ethiopia's government were sentenced Monday to life behind bars for inciting violence in an attempt to topple Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. Eight others were ordered to serve up to 18 years. Prosecutors had sought the death penalty in each case. A BBC correspondent told the network that the sentences are unlikely to be served and that the defendants may even be freed since relatives have signed "some form of apology or plea for mercy."
One of two female former prime ministers of Bangladesh was arrested on extortion charges Monday, and the other was ordered to appear in court next month for alleged tax evasion. Sheikh Hasina was taken to jail pending trial in a crackdown on corruption by the interim government. As word of the arrest spread, police fought with her angry supporters in the streets of Dhaka, the capital. Her bitter rival, Khaleda Zia, is accused of failing to pay taxes for a company she owns. The military-backed government tried to exile both women in April, but ultimately backed down.
The most popular of Venezuela's TV stations was reaching viewers again Monday, seven weeks after leftist President Hugo Chávez refused to renew its license, forcing it off the air. But RCTV, which had been critical of Chávez, was available only via cable and satellite, which can be accessed by about 30 percent of the population. A state-controlled station took over RCTV's channel under what Chávez called an effort to democratize broadcasting.
Control of the national railway system in Bolivia will be taken over by the government, leftist President Evo Morales announced. The system was sold to a private Chilean investor in 1996. But the buyer first discontinued most passenger service in favor of freight and then resold the railway in pieces to other investors. Morales previously nationalized Bolivia's oil and natural gas sector and much of its mining industry.
Aftershocks may be felt across northern Japan for up to a week, seismologists said after a strong earthquake there killed at least seven people and caused heavy property damage Monday. Almost 1,000 others were hurt, and the Kashiwazaki nuclear power plant caught fire and leaked radioactive water, reports said.
Saying, "They've now become just like any other political party," the Election Commission in Nepal announced that the former communist rebel movement has registered to compete in the Nov. 22 election for a new parliament. That was allowed even though the UN criticized the communists for preventing its monitors from verifying whether children remain in their ranks as soldiers.