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.
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.
In tears, the rebel believed to have wounded East Timor's president in an assassination attempt surrendered, kissing the hand of his intended victim. Marcelo Caetano and 11 followers (one of them above) turned in their assault rifles in a televised ceremony Tuesday. President Jose Ramos-Horta, who was severely wounded in the Feb. 11 attack, asked the rebels to confess but said he had "no desire for revenge."
There will be no return to the politics that were in place before the coup that toppled Fiji's government two years ago, military ruler Frank Bainimarama said. Bainimarama, under international pressure to fulfill a pledge for a national election by April 2009, said his critics are "deluding themselves" if they think he'll allow the island nation to be governed again by a system "where there was repugnant racial discrimination [and] an alarmingly high level of official corruption." The remarks appear to cast doubt on whether his planned changes to the system leave enough time to meet the election deadline, analysts said.
Voters in Rome gave the conservative candidate for mayor an easy victory, ending 15 years of leftist control in Italy's capital. The outcome adds to the impact of the right-wing takeover of both houses of parliament earlier this month, when ex-Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni lost the prime ministership. Conservatives also run Milan, the financial capital, leaving only the ceremonial presidency in leftist hands.
Despite a harrowing return to Earth last week, South Korea's first astronaut pledged to "pay back" public support of her mission by passing up other opportunities to help develop the national space program. Yi So-yeon, a bioengineer still in her 20s, said she'll work as a researcher and lecturer in aerospace science. The Russian Soyuz capsule that carried her and two other astronauts back from the International Space Station made a hard landing 260 miles off-target.