In a blunt warning to Serbian leaders, Kosovo's prime minister said they should forget about trying to exert control over the newly declared state. Hashim Thaci said he is in "constant contact" with NATO to prevent "anyone from touching even one inch" of its soil. Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica has vowed that his government would continue to rule areas of Kosovo where "loyal citizens" wish to be under Serbian authority.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Negotiations over a settlement to Kenya's political crisis were suspended Tuesday by mediator Kofi Annan. But he insisted that they "have not broken down." The ex-UN secretary-general is under pressure to bring President Mwai Kibake and opposition leader Raila Odinga to a solution by Thursday, when the latter's supporters have vowed to resume nationwide protests. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the US would draw its own conclusions "about who is responsible for the lack of progress." Without elaborating, she said the US would "take necessary steps" if a deal isn't reached.
A special tribunal in Nigeria rejected two legal challenges to last year's election of Umaru Yar'Adua (l.) as president. The plaintiffs, who had alleged such massive vote-rigging as to make the outcome "not credible," were defeated in the election. Both said they would appeal Tuesday's rulings to the Supreme Court. The tribunal said they had failed to prove that violations of electoral law were serious enough to invalidate Yar'Adua's victory.
Mediator Amr Moussa of the Arab League left Beirut Monday night after failing again to achieve a breakthrough in Lebanon's political crisis, and parliament postponed for the 15th time its vote for president. Moussa said feuding pro- and anti-Syrian politicians had agreed to a new set of talks but remain unable to bridge the gap over sharing power in a new government. Lebanon has been without a president since November.
A website devoted to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra of Thailand was urging supporters to turn out and welcome him home from exile Thursday. Appearing to confirm that likelihood, Army chief Anupong Paochinda said security would be provided for the arrival, although he warned that "a third hand might take the opportunity to cause trouble." The Army seized power 17 months ago while Thaksin was out of the country, accusing him of corruption and abuse of power, and he still is under indictment.
Two hundred members of Brazil's elite National Security Force arrived in a remote Amazon town to reinforce soldiers and police trying to enforce the biggest crackdown so far against illegal logging. The combined force will remain there "for an undetermined period of time," officials said after angry loggers and sawmill workers forced environmental inspectors to flee and blocked roads in protest at the prospective loss of their jobs. Above, a policeman stands guard as illegally cut logs are seized.
In a flurry of moves, the military government of Fiji charged ex-Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase with abuse of office and deported to Australia the publisher of a newspaper it said had printed reports "destabilizing to national security." Qarase could be imprisoned for up to 10 years if convicted. The moves come less than a week after military ruler Frank Bainimarama, who ousted Qarase in a 2006 coup, tightened his grip on power by appointing himself as head of Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs.
Bundled into an insulated parka, environmentalist and 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai officially opened the so-called "doomsday" seed vault Tuesday by placing a box of rice samples from Kenya into storage. The vault, hollowed out of a mountain on the Arctic Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, has the capacity to protect 2.25 billion crop seeds from around the world for hundreds of years. It will be a backup to other seed banks, some of which have been destroyed by war, flooding, and other phenomena.