Reporters and photographers were being kept away from the site of negotiations on the fate of 21 South Korean hostages still held by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Afghan officials said they did not want the Taliban to exploit the situation to "show off." A Taliban spokesman said two of the hostages had been freed because of ill health, but they had yet to be delivered into the government's hands.
Visiting a new missile-warning radar site, Russian President Vladimir Putin called it the first step in "a major program" that will not be finished until 2015. His visit Saturday to the station near St. Petersburg came amid tensions arising from US plans to build a similar system in Poland and the Czech Republic, to which Putin vehemently objects. He has warned that Russia will take measures to counter it.
As many as 90,000 Muslims from as far away as Britain packed a stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia, Sunday in a call for a pan-Islamic caliphate, or state. The rally, by followers of the Sunni organization Hazbut Tahrir, was peaceful, although the group holds radical beliefs. Among the scheduled speakers was controversial Indonesian cleric Abu Bakr Bashir, but organizers asked him not to attend after police raised security concerns, the BBC reported.
Official results from Saturday's presidential balloting in Sierra Leone will be announced within two weeks, the elections commission said. The vote, a test of the transition to democratic rule, was the first since UN peacekeepers withdrew in 2005. Seven candidates sought to succeed President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, who's prevented by law from seeking a third term. Despite scattered incidents and irregularities, voting was heavy and mostly trouble-free, reports said.
While achieving no breakthroughs, the government of Morocco and the Polisario Front separatists wound up two days of talks over the weekend by agreeing to meet again on the fate of the Western Sahara. Mediators at the UN-sponsored meetings described them as "substantive" because both sides "acknowledge that the status quo is unacceptable." The region, which is rich in phosphate deposits, has been in dispute for 32 years. Morocco has offered limited autonomy; the Polisario Front demands a referendum on independence.
Opposition supporters put up a tent camp in the main square of Ukraine's capital Sunday as a new political confrontation emerged in the former Soviet republic. It began after the Central Elections Commission refused to register candidates from ex-Prime Minister Yulya Tymoshenko's party for the Sept. 30 parliamentary voting on grounds that they'd failed to give their full addresses. About half of the elections board members are loyal to her successor and bitter rival, pro-Russian head of government Viktor Yanukovich.
Voters will choose a new parliament in Poland two years ahead of schedule, Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski announced. He told a news conference that he and his twin brother, Lech, Poland's president, no longer can govern with their two coalition partners. He said the election will be held "in November at the latest." Despite the robust economy, the left-right coalition has quarreled repeatedly, most recently over the firing of Deputy Prime Minister Andrzej Lepper, who is embroiled in a corruption probe.
Political dissident and former teacher Francisco Chaviano was paroled from a Cuban prison Friday after a 1995 conviction for revealing state security secrets, the BBC reported. Citing the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, it said Chaviano had been behind bars longer than any other political prisoner. The communist government has not commented on the report.