Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Iraqi Shiite cleric, called off the massive anti-US protest he'd scheduled for Wednesday, saying he was worried that participants would be attacked. But he threatened to unleash his Mahdi Army again unless the government protects against what he called "booby traps and American militias."
Six thousand new centrifuges are being installed at Iran's Natanz uranium-enrichment facility, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday in a new show of defiance of the UN Security Council. The council voted a third round of sanctions against the Islamic republic last month for its refusal to halt the pursuit of nuclear technology. Its members have been expected to meet again soon to discuss possible new incentives aimed at persuading Iran to drop the nuclear program.
Seventeen members of a road-building crew were shot to death and 16 others were wounded in southern Afghanistan Tuesday, reports said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, although coalition forces responding to it killed seven of the attackers, an Interior Ministry spokesman said. Road projects are considered vital to Afghanistan's economic development, but many of them take place in remote areas where the workers are vulnerable to ambushes and kidnappings.
Police used tear gas and fired live ammunition into the air to disperse protesters in Kenya's capital Tuesday in the worst violence since rival politicians signed a power-sharing agreement two months ago. The demonstration erupted as opposition leader Raila Odinga broke off negotiations with President Mwai Kibaki's government over the composition of a cabinet that would give both sides equal representation. Kibaki has named a partial cabinet, but the opposition demands that it be disbanded before it will negotiate further. Above, schoolgirls dodge fires set by protesters in a Nairobi street.
A Russian Soyuz rocket successfully lifted off Tuesday for the International Space Station, carrying a crew of three – among them the youngest woman to take part in such a mission. Yi So-yeon of South Korea, a nanotechnology engineer, also is her country's first astronaut. The launch, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, was carried live on TV in South Korea, the ninth Asian nation to put an astronaut into space.
Leaders of a campaign for autonomy in one of Bolivia's wealthiest states will be put on trial for scheduling a May 4 referendum on the matter, reports said Monday. Santa Cruz State Gov. Ruben Costas and his allies oppose a draft constitution that would grant increased political power to – and require that wealthy lowland states share their revenues with – the poor indigenous majority in the nation's western highlands. Leftist President Evo Morales has called the autonomy campaign "seditious."
For the second day in a row, a public school in Sydney, Australia, was under lockdown because of an intrusion by teenage boys, and the government of New South Wales was considering whether state laws need to be toughened in cases of premeditated attacks on campuses. Authorities charged the five who went on a rampage Monday in a Sydney high school with more than 100 offenses and said none of them showed remorse for their actions. They were ordered to remain in custody until a hearing May 22.