New amendments are needed to the security deal that would allow US troops to remain in Iraq for another three years, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's cabinet decided Tuesday. A spokesman said that without changes, which were not specified, the pact cannot win "national acceptance." But another source close to the matter said Shiite cabinet members want language removed from the draft that allows the government to ask for an extension beyond 2011 and that clarifies the terms of Iraqi jurisdiction over American troops or civilian contractors accused of crimes while off duty.
Unless its leader is granted a passport, Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said it will continue to boycott talks aimed at breaking a power-sharing deadlock with President Robert Mugabe. MDC chief Morgan Tsvangirai did not attend such a meeting Monday in Swaziland because he was given only a temporary travel document at the last minute. The meeting was rescheduled for next week at a new site, believed to be in Zimbabwe. If the talks produce no breakthrough, a new national election is "the only way forward," the MDC said.
All systems were "go" at India's Sriharikota space center for the liftoff at dawn Wednesday of its first unmanned mission to the moon. The two-year, $79 million venture is designed to map the surface and study the distribution of minerals and elements, in particular evidence of ice and helium. The chief of the agency said he thinks India not only can catch up to China for leadership among Asian nations in the space race but also believes, "We are better off [than China] in many areas."
Three Islamist militants sentenced to death for the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings in Indonesia lost the final bid to delay their executions. The nation's Constitutional Court rejected their appeal that carrying out the sentences by firing squad would be inhumane. Prisoners on death row normally are given 72 hours' notice, and the government's attorney general said plans for carrying out the sentences would be announced Friday. The bombings six years ago this month killed 202 people, 88 of them Australian tourists.
Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was found guilty in absentia of corruption and sentenced to two years in prison by Thailand's Supreme Court Tuesday. From exile in London, he called the verdict "politically motivated" and further evidence of a coup against him. The high court, however, acquitted him of a more serious charge, cleared his wife, Pojaman, of wrongdoing, and said it would not seize the land or cash involved in their 2003 purchase of state-owned property for one-third of its listed value.
Opponents of Bolivia's president agreed to a deal Monday on his socialist agenda that's aimed at ending months of often violent clashes between their rival supporters. With tens of thousands of President Evo Morales's supporters jamming the capital, La Paz, the right-wing opponents dropped their objection to a referendum in January on his proposed new constitution and to a national election 11 months later. In exchange, Morales pledged to seek only one more term that would keep him in power until 2014.
A prison director and several guards were suspended in Rey-nosa, Mexico, Monday after a riot that resulted in at least 21 deaths and a dozen injuries. All of the injured were taken to hospitals, reports said. The violence required Army troops and federal and state police to put down, and authorities quickly opened an investigation into its cause. The riot was the third since Sept. 15 involving a prison near the US border in which there was heavy loss of life.