Writing in the state-owned newspaper, a respected political commentator threw a curve into Zimbabwe's contentious presidential politics by suggesting that incumbent Robert Mugabe forge a unity government with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). But analysts said they doubted that the idea had official backing and maintained that Mugabe still is expected to participate in a runoff against MDC challenger Morgan Tsvangirai. The opposition lost the first of 23 recounts of votes for seats in parliament Wednesday.Skip to next paragraph
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Israel was delivering 26,000 gallons of diesel fuel to the only electric utility in the Gaza Strip Wednesday, forestalling a shutdown of the plant and the cutoff of power to tens of thousands of Palestinians. But UN relief officials demanded that gasoline be supplied as well to allow their vehicles to distribute food and other needs to Gaza residents. Below, a truck driver unloads diesel fuel into a holding tank at the power plant.
The Olympic torch was taken immediately to a secret location on arrival in Australia's capital as security officials admitted to concern over the possibility of chaotic demonstrations involving pro-Tibet sympathizers and those in the ethnic Chinese community. The route that the torch was to travel through Canberra Thursday also was shortened by more than a mile, although federal police planned to run alongside the bearers and fencing was erected to keep spectators at a distance.
At least 38 Sri Lankan soldiers were killed Wednesday in one of the Army's fiercest battles with Tamil rebels in years. An Army spokesman said the fighting began at dawn when the rebels overran an encampment on the Jaffna Peninsula, where the Tamils claim a de facto state. A rebel website claimed 84 other soldiers were wounded in the clash, although both sides are known for inflating casualty counts from battles. For its part, the Army said 52 rebels had been killed in the fighting.
A furious lawyer for ex-Khmer Rouge leader Khieu Samphan threw genocide trial proceedings into an uproar Wednesday in Cambodia, storming out of a hearing because it was not being conducted in French. Jacques Verges complained to journalists that tribunal judges also had suggested Khieu Samphan (l.) find a new attorney. Verges, who has won fame for representing such notorious figures as terrorist Carlos the Jackal, the late Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, and Nazi Gestapo officer Klaus Barbie, is seeking his client's release on grounds that he held "no real power" even though he served as president of the Khmer Rouge.
Staffers and employees of Denmark's embassies in two Muslim nations have been evacuated because of "concrete" terrorist threats stemming from the reprinting of caricatures of the prophet Muhammad, the Foreign Ministry said. The embassies in Algeria and Afghanistan will be reachable, it said, but only by telephone and e-mail since their staffs will work from "secret locations." Danish embassies in other Muslim capitals may have to be relocated, the ministry said.
Farm leaders in Argentina warned of a new nationwide protest within days because there has been "little advance" in negotiations with the government over rolling back an unpopular tax increase on agricultural exports. A farmers' spokesman described the talks as "pretty difficult" and said "some kind of measure" is being considered if there is no progress by May 2. In a nationally televised speech Tuesday, President Cristina Fernandez urged the farmers to remain calm. They suspended a three-week strike April 2 to open a window for the negotiations.
The highest honor in literature in the Spanish-speaking world, the Cervantes Prize, was presented Wednesday to Argentine poet Juan Gelman. A former leftist guerrilla, he was forced into exile and his son and daughter-in-law were killed under the military dictatorships that ruled Argentina in the 1970s and '80s. Gelman since has come to be considered his country's poet laureate.