Thousands of Kurds thronged the streets of Dohuk, Iraq, (above) to vent their anger at Turkey's parliament for authorizing cross-border military pursuit of separatist rebels. Iraq's Foreign Ministry also intervened in the matter, calling for the separatists to leave Iraqi soil "as soon as possible." The vote removed the last legal obstacle to a Turkish offensive, although none appeared imminent. Turkey's justice minister, however, scorned President Bush for urging restraint. He said Turkey would be implementing the same rules of engagement that the US used in invading Afghanistan.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert flew to Moscow Thursday for an "urgent, last-minute" effort to try to enlist Russian backing for new UN sanctions against Iran's nuclear activities. The trip wasn't scheduled until after Russian leader Vladimir Putin visited Iran earlier this week to discuss the latter's nuclear program. While there, Putin warned against any Western effort to attack Iran militarily. The Russian leader has said he sees "direct dialogue" as preferable to sanctions against Iran.
Amid the chorus of international protest over its violent crackdown against street protests, Burma's military government announced formation of a committee to draft a new constitution. The 54-member panel will be led by senior state officials but also will include retired physicians and teachers. The move is Stage 2 in the so-called "road map" to the restoration of democracy, although so far only the drawing of guidelines for a new charter has been completed.
Leaders of the 27 European Union countries gathered in Portugal Thursday to try to agree on a new treaty that would replace the proposed charter rejected by Dutch and French voters two years ago. But critics complain that the rewritten version is as legally complex as the original. Moreover, prospects for agreement appeared to be clouded as Britain, Italy, and Poland all demanded last- minute changes in such areas as voting rights and sovereignty over judicial affairs and police powers.
Saying, "We will not make the government fall," the leader of Canada's opposition Liberal Party pledged Wednesday that it will support Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper's legislative agenda. If implemented, the announcement means that Liberals in Parliament will vote "yes" on such issues as tax cuts and extending Canada's military mission in Afghanistan. Harper heads a minority government, and defeat on any of his initiatives would trigger a new national election. But Liberal leader Stephane Dion said it is not "in the national interest" to have an election now.
Striking transit workers in France vowed to extend their walkout into Friday in the first major confrontation between unions and President Nicolas Sarkozy. The largest such strike in years began Wednesday night to protest Sarkozy's proposed reductions in costly public services, among them retirement packages for certain transit workers. It forced commuters across France to walk, pedal (above), or drive to work – or stay home. International train service also was affected, although flights were operating normally.
A strike was "100 percent guaranteed" by unions representing British Broadcasting Corp. employees if the media giant follows through on plans for a "radical overhaul" of its operations. To meet a $4 billion budget shortfall, the company announced Thursday that it will cut 2,500 jobs over the next six years, originate fewer programs, merge its news divisions, and sell the center where most of its programming is produced. Some of the job cuts would be offset by an anticipated 700 new hires.