Almost 200 supporters of the political opposition in Zimbabwe were freed from jail Tuesday following their arrest last week in a postelection crackdown by the government. The raid by police on the headquarters of the Movement for Democratic Change was seen as a strong signal that President Robert Mugabe intended to cling to power despite an international clamor that he concede defeat and step down. In an interview with the BBC, Zimbabwe's ambassador to the UN became the second senior government source in a week to argue that the only way out of the crisis is a unity government.Skip to next paragraph
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A senior Organization of American States envoy was in Bolivia for his third attempt this month to head off potential civil war over Sunday's scheduled referendum on autonomy for Santa Cruz State, the nation's wealthiest. Dante Caputo was to try to mediate talks between leftist President Evo Morales and Santa Cruz's governor to find a solution to the impending crisis. Morales has warned that he'll use the military to maintain national unity and also has hinted that indigenous groups are prepared to fight secession. Above, autonomy supporters demonstrate in Santa Cruz's capital Monday.
Deutsche Bank, Germany's largest, reported its first quarterly loss in five years Tuesday, writing down $4.2 billion worth of loans because of the subprime mortgage market problem in the US. The financial giant's chief said the loss would have been greater if it had not sold investments in healthy companies such as Daimler-Benz.
In yet another set of announcements affecting Cuba's future, new leader Rául Castro commuted the death sentences of all but three convicts and summoned the Communist Party to its first congress in 11 years. The latter will be held next year to prepare for "when the historic generation is no longer around," a reference to the leadership of the revolution that seized power in 1959. The three not included in the commutation were found guilty of murder.