Rotating eight-hour blackouts in the Gaza Strip began Sunday as Israel cut back the supply of fuel to the territory's only generating plant. The Jewish state said it was sending a "stern message" to Palestinian militants in Gaza to stop targeting Israelis with daily rocket and mortar fire. Israeli forces also wound up a four-day offensive in Gaza, killing at least 17 people and rounding up suspected militants (some of them being blindfolded by a soldier, above).
A terrorist bomber killed himself and at least 10 other people at Army Day celebrations in Baghdad. Seventeen more were wounded in the attack, the worst of four in the capital Sunday. A drive-by shooting in Baghdad also killed a Shiite organizer of an armed antimilitia force. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, returning from a set of medical tests in London, said his government would integrate into the Army and police Sunni groups that have switched sides and now oppose Al Qaeda. But he warned that such groups must be safeguarded against infiltration by terrorists.
A plan that finally could result in the election of a new president for Lebanon appeared to win the support of pro- and anti-Syrian political forces Sunday. As formulated by the Arab League, the plan endorses Army Gen. Michel Suleiman as the chief executive and calls for a government of national unity, with no party having the power to impose or block its decisions. But Hizbullah said it still wanted "clarification" of certain aspects of the plan. Parliament has postponed the vote for president 11 times. It now is scheduled for Saturday.
Using the Internet, 1,363 candidates registered Saturday for Iran's parliamentary election, officials said. Registration for the 290-seat Majlis is open for one week, after which the hard-line Guardian Council begins screening candidates – a process that in the last election eliminated thousands of would-be reformers from running. Analysts say the March 14 vote will be a key test of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's hold on power, although it won't alter Iranian nuclear policy.
A website dedicated to the Tamil separatist cause in Sri Lanka appeared to confirm Saturday that "Colonel Charles," the rebel intelligence chief, was killed in an attack by government military units.The incident took place two days after the government gave notice that it is ending its participation in the tattered five-year-old truce with therebels. The government also said it wanted the role of cease-fire monitors from Norway to be "redefined."
Muslim radicals ambushed a military patrol and shot a civilian to death in southern Thailand over the weekend as their separatist campaign entered its fifth year. Yet, an Army spokesman insisted that security in the volatile provinces of Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat is improving and said "we will bring peace to the region in 2008." A self-appointed monitoring group said Friday that the violence has claimed an average of 72 lives a month since September 2006.
A disabled fishing trawler was expected to be under way again Monday off Antarctica after US military personnel airdropped the parts to repair its main engine. The British-registered Argos Georgia and its 25-man crew had been stranded since before Christmas and soon would have become trapped because strong currents were pushing the vessel deep into pack ice, a US Air Force spokesman said Saturday night.