The possibility of a face-to-face confrontation between the rivals for Zimbabwe's presidency grew Thursday as reports indicated that both men would attend a regional meeting on the political stalemate. The session, called by Zambia, is scheduled for Saturday. Zimbabwe's information ministry said the meeting isn't necessary since "there is no crisis" but that incumbent Robert Mugabe would brief other heads of state on the situation. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who claims victory in the March 29 election, has been pressuring Zimbabwe's neighbors to insist that Mugabe resign.Skip to next paragraph
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Israel cut off fuel to the Gaza Strip in retaliation for a raid Wednesday on the depot that is the sole source of supply for the territory. Two employees of the depot were shot to death in the attack, which Islamic Jihad and two small militant groups said they'd staged. But the Jewish state's defense ministry said "the blame lies with Hamas" since it has authority in Gaza. Israeli tanks and aircraft also pounded targets in the territory after the raid, killing at least eight Palestinians. The fuel interruption was expected to be brief so as not to cause widespread hardship.
Thousands of police and soldiers patrolled the streets of Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, after supporters of the new government fought those of embattled President Pervez Musharraf Wednesday. At least 10 people died in the violence and property damage was heavy. Musharraf backers (some of them below) in parliament boycotted Thursday's session, which descended into trading accusations about who was to blame for the trouble. Without mentioning the president by name, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani warned that the unrest had revitalized his allies and that "we may again be subjected to the dark years ... of dictatorship from which we have just begun to come out."
Polls closed in Nepal after a day of voting aimed at achieving lasting peace in the Himalayan kingdom. But despite tight security precautions, the election was marred by the shooting death of a candidate for the Constituent Assembly that is to rewrite the national charter, eliminating the monarchy and bringing the Communist Party into the democratic mainstream. Another candidate escaped unhurt when gunmen fired at her from a passing motorbike. Official results of the voting are not expected to be announced for three weeks.
A long-delayed signing of the final peace agreement between Uganda's government and the rebel Lord's Resistance Army was postponed again Thursday when the latter's commander demanded clarification of some of its key points. Joseph Kony, who is under indictment by the International Criminal Court (ICC), reportedly sought more details on how he'd be prosecuted by the government instead. President Yoweri Museveni has said he'll ask the ICC to drop its warrants for Kony's arrest only after the peace deal has been finalized.
The driver of a truck smuggling illegal immigrants from Burma (Myanmar) into Thailand fled after discovering that 54 of them had suffocated, police said Thursday. Sixty-seven others, most of them women, survived but will be deported, a police spokesman said. The vehicle appeared to be headed for two southern provinces that have many beach resorts. Above, some of the male survivors are seen in a holding cell at a nearby police station after the incident.
Scientists from Spain announced the discovery of the smallest planet outside the solar system. At a news conference in Madrid, Ignasi Ribas of the Superior Council for Scientific Investigations said the new find is rocky, about 50 percent larger than Earth, and orbits the star GJ 436 once every five days. He predicted that improving techniques will result in the detection of another habitable planet, like Earth, "in a decade."