A new vote on sanctions against Iran for refusing to abandon its uranium-enrichment program is expected Monday in the UN Security Council. Council members were briefed last week by the International Atomic Energy Agency on alleged "weaponization studies" conducted in the Islamic republic as recently as 2004. If accurate, the briefing would appear to call into question the US intelligence estimate of last December that Iran had halted such research in 2003.
Amid the latest impasse over stripping communist North Korea of its nuclear weapons program, tens of thousands of US and South Korean troops opened their annual joint drills Sunday, calling them "purely defensive." The North's official news agency condemned them as "reckless" and and warned of "self-defensive steps" in response. The exercises come less than a week after a historic goodwill concert in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, by the New York Philharmonic orchestra.
A rocket fired by a US helicopter killed one of Al Qaeda in Iraq's most-wanted leaders, a military spokesman said Sunday.Abu Yasir al-Saudi and another terrorist were riding in a car in Mosul when the strike took place last Wednesday, the spokesman said. He called Mosul the "center of gravity" for Al Qaeda because it is at the crossroads of infiltration routes for recruits arriving via Syria to the west, Turkey to the north, and Iran to the east. Up to two-thirds of terrorist activity in Iraq take place "in and around" Mosul, he said.
A terrorist infiltrated a conference of tribal elders in northwest Pakistan Sunday and exploded a bomb, killing himself and at least 39 others and wounding more than 100. Many of the latter reportedly were in critical condition. The elders had been discussing a resolution calling for punishment of anyone who shelters or aids Al Qaeda and Taliban militants. The attack was the third of its type in the area in three days.
A 20-day state of emergency was declared in Armenia after eight people died in postelection protests Saturday. More than 100 others were hurt in perhaps the worst unrest there since the breakup of the Soviet Union. The strife gathered momentum after police broke up a tent camp in a public square of Yerevan, the capital, claiming that supporters of defeated presidential candidate Levon Ter-Petrosian were stockpiling guns for a coup attempt. Above, a burned-out car attracts a crowd after the violence.
Hard-line President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe lost the support of two longtime allies in his bid for reelection March 29. Ex- Home Affairs Minister Dumiso Dabemgwa and former speaker of parliament Cyril Ndebele, both members of the ruling ZANU-PF party's inner circle, endorsed challenger Simba Makoni. Makoni was expelled from the party after declaring his candidacy last month. He claims that other senior ZANU-PF members also support him.
A former policeman-turned-rebel who allegedly shot East Timor President Jose Ramos-Horta in an assassination attempt last month surrendered Saturday. Amaro da Costa (above, l., waving as he is escorted by guards) admitted being "involved" in the attack that critically wounded Ramos-Horta but said he wouldn't "explain the details" until he met with the attorney general. Six other rebels surrendered last week; a dozen more are still being sought.
An ambitious project to identify China's worst polluters has begun. But to gain the cooperation of factories and other sources, the government has offered immunity from prosecution, the BBC reported. Data obtained on the types and volumes of pollution discharged into the air, soil, and water would be used only to develop new policies, it said. The World Bank estimates that pollution costs China $100 billion a year in cleanup costs and treatment of people sickened by it.