President Bush was en route back to the US Sunday following his last meeting with outgoing Russian leader Vladimir Putin and first talks with Putin's successor, Dmitry Medvedev. They failed to resolve their differences over the missile defense system that the US proposed to build in eastern Europe. But Bush aides said the matter could be dealt with by Medvedev and the next US president.Skip to next paragraph
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Police fought off protesters who tried to grab and snuff out the Olympic torch on its 31-mile route through snowy London Sunday. At least 30 people were arrested, some of them as police kept pro- and anti-China activists apart. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown chose not to handle the torch, and the relay leg of Chinese Ambassador Fu Ying had to be rerouted at the last minute because of crowds massed at the spot where he was to accept it from the previous runner. Above, police subdue two protesters outside Wembley Stadium.
A suspected Tamil rebel exploded a bomb at what was to be the start of a holiday marathon race near Sri Lanka's capital Sunday, killing himself, a senior government minister, and at least 12 other people. Dozens more were hurt in the blast on the eve of the majority Sinhalese New Year. Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, who headed the highways ministry, was the second government leader to die in a bombing attack since January. Above, a soldier orders the curious away from the scene of the explosion.
Another last-minute dispute kept Kenya's president and opposition leader from announcing the makeup of their power-sharing cabinet as scheduled Sunday, with each side blaming the other. Incumbent Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga were expected to meet later in the day to discuss the situation, but the latter said through a spokesman that he wouldn't make "any further concession." The nation has been without a full government since the disputed presidential election Dec. 27, and plans to expand the cabinet from 32 ministers to 40 as the cornerstone of the peace deal between Kibaki and Odinga have angered many Kenyans as an extravagance.
Security police arrived before dawn at Egypt's largest textile plant to prevent a planned strike over low pay and deteriorating working conditions. At least 150 shift workers were arrested, reports said. But the apparent sympathetic response to the workers' cause in Cairo and other cities took analysts by surprise since Egyptians are widely seen as apathetic, and strikes and other public protests are illegal under emergency rule. The walkout at the state-owned plant would have come two days before critical local elections.
A May 7 vote was expected in Ireland's parliament to elect Finance Minister Brian Cowen as the new head of government. Cowen was the only candidate for the leadership of the ruling Fianna Fáil Party as nominations closed Saturday night, thus becoming virtually assured of succeeding the retiring Bertie Ahern as prime minister. As a legislator since his mid-20s, Cowen also has led the ministries of health and foreign affairs. Ahern announced his resignation last week.
Leftist President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela ordered the immediate nationalization of the cement industry, three of whose largest companies are foreign-owned. He called the industry "strategic" and said its exports were needed to meet a severe domestic housing shortage. In its drive toward "21st century socialism," the Chávez government previously seized the oil, gas, telecommunications, and electric power sectors.
At least 15 people died and an estimated 50,000 others were driven from their homes by flooding in normally arid northeastern Brazil, civil defense officials said over the weekend. Roads washed out by two weeks of torrential rains left 30 communities isolated. The government released $360 million in emergency aid for the five hardest-hit states.