American technicians arrived in North Korea Thursday to disable the latter's nuclear complex at Yongbyon and were expected to begin work by week's end. Under North Korea's deal with its five negotiating partners, the complex is to be rendered unusable by Dec. 31. Above, team members wait to load their luggage onto a bus at the Pyongyang airport.
Government forces in Pakistan said they killed as many as 70 more followers of a radical pro-Taliban cleric Thursday. But in the second attack of its type this week, a suicide bomber targeted a bus carrying military personnel, killing himself and seven others and wounding 40 more. Against that backdrop, ex-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto flew back to Dubai for what aides said would be a week-long visit with family members. Earlier, she'd said she was canceling the trip due to political uncertainties.
Refueling ships of Japan's Navy were ordered home Thursday after opposition legislators balked at extending that contribution to the global war on terrorism. The provision under which Japan provided free fuel to US warships in the Indian Ocean was to expire at midnight. The opponents argue that the mission violates Japan's pacifist Constitution.
Hard-line President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe signed a constitutional amendment Thursday that empowers parliament to elect his successor should he retire or be unable to finish his term. It replaces a provision that transferred power to the vice president until a new national election could be held. Mugabe clings to power despite Zimbabwe's deep economic woes and has said he'll seek to extend his 27-year rule next year. Parliament is dominated by his allies.
A hurricane watch was issued Thursday for the Bahamas as tropical storm Noel intensified. In the Dominican Republic and Haiti, where rain was still falling two days after the system passed, authorities raised the number of dead to 81 people. Dominican President Leonel Fernandez declared a 30-day state of emergency and appealed for international help. Flooding along Mexico's Gulf coast was the worst in the history of Tabasco State, Gov. Andres Granier said.
Retired Army Gen. Otto Perez Molina narrowly led his liberal opponent in the final opinion poll as Guatemalans prepared to vote in Sunday's presidential runoff. The vote is seen as likely to turn on the issue of crime, since Guatemala averages more than 5,000 murders a year. If elected, Perez has pledged to legalize capital punishment and put more police on the streets. He led businessman and three-time contender Alvaro Colom by six percentage points, but the poll had a 3 percent error margin. Below, a Colom campaign bus passes Perez supporters in Guatemala City.
Saying, "It is infinitely easier ... to talk than to fight," the father of a boy killed by an Irish Republican Army bomb in 1993 accepted a personal apology from Gerry Adams, leader of the IRA's political ally, Sinn Fein. Appearing with Colin Parry at a forum on "paths to peace" in London Wednesday night, Adams said, "The IRA was responsible for what happened that day" and apologizing "is the right and proper thing to do." Parry and his wife, Wendy, have "created positive space" from their grief, Adams said, by establishing a foundation in their son's name to work for an end to Northern Ireland's sectarian divide.
New census data show that tens of thousands of ethnic Indians have left Fiji over the past decade, reports said Thursday – a decline that analysts attributed to political turmoil. The census, which self-appointed Prime Minister Frank Baini-marama said was necessary before a national election could be held in 2009, showed that the Indian percentage of Fiji's population has dipped to 38 percent. It stood at 49 percent after the archipelago achieved independence in 1986.