Emergency rule in Pakistan will end Saturday – 24 hours earlier than originally planned, the nation's attorney general said over the weekend. Asked why by journalists, he said only, "the earlier the better." Against that backdrop, aides to ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said he has decided to commit his faction of the Pakistan Muslim League to participate in next month's election for a new parliament. Sharif and rival Benazir Bhutto failed last week to agree on an alliance to boycott the vote. Bhutto's People's Party plans to participate in the election.
Taliban fighters were said to have been pushed to the center of the only town they control in southern Afghanistan as US, British, and Afghan troops (some of them above) pressed an assault Sunday. Two Tali-ban leaders were captured in the fighting for Musa Qala, which the militants took over in February after it had been vacated by British troops.
With buckets and shovels, thousands of soldiers, police, and civilian volunteers raced to clean crude oil from a scenic beach in South Korea Sunday as it washed ashore after the collision of a supertanker and a barge. The spill was estimated at 10,000 tons, making it the worst in Korean history. The Maritime Ministry said at least 10 miles of shoreline were contaminated seriously and projected that cleanup efforts (some of them above) could take "at least two months."
A trial that could send former President Alberto Fujimori to prison for the rest of his life is to open in Peru Monday. Fujimori, who ruled from 1990 to 2000, is charged with human rights violations and abuse of authority in the murders of 25 leftists at the hands of an Army death squad as his government was batting the Shining Path guerrilla movement. Analysts speculated that the trial could last months. If convicted, he also could be fined $33 million.
Despite a boycott by the main opposition party, members of Bolivia's constituent assembly approved a new draft constitution Sunday that would allow leftist President Evo Morales to run for reelection indefinitely. It also would give the majority indigenous population greater autonomy over its traditional regions. The draft charter now goes before voters in a national referendum, although no date has been announced. Affluent Bolivians bitterly oppose the new charter, and at least three people have died in violent protests and rioting in recent weeks.
A governmental assault on the Church of Scientology gathered steam in Germany as the Interior Ministry and all 16 state governments voted it unconstitutional. In a newspaper interview Sunday, Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble accused the movement of working to accumulate political power. He said intelligence agencies "will collect their current findings" and consult on "further steps," a remark taken to mean banning the movement, with which authorities have feuded for years. A Scientology spokeswoman called Schaeuble's remarks "insane."
A manhunt was on for the owner and senior manager of the coal mine in northern China where 105 employees died in a gas explosion last week. The Xin-hua news agency said the two men had "ignored safety rules" and waited almost half a day to report the accident, a common tactic by operators hoping to avoid being fined or shut down. The accident, in Shanxi Province, was the second-deadliest in China this year.
Destruction of the Amazon rain forest fell 20 percent over the past year, Brazil's government reported, attributing the decline mainly to stepped-up enforcement of environmental regulations. The drop was the third in three years, but a spokesman said, "we are not celebrating" because the government's goal "is zero deforestation." About 20 percent of the 1.6 million square-mile Amazon has been lost to mining, logging, farming, and other development.