Hezbollah said it will "return things to the way they were before" in Lebanon after the government reversed the two decisions that set off the worst sustained political violence since the 1975-90 civil war. Jubilant Hezbollah supporters celebrated Wednesday night after the government announced that "in the higher national interest" it would end an investigation into the organization's telephone network and was canceling the dismissal of the director of security at Beirut airport, who was suspected of having ties to Hezbollah. Above, a couple in Beirut, the capital, stroll between coils of razor wire set up to help contain violence.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
An Islamist militant group calling itself the Indian Mujahideen claimed responsibility Thurs-day for the series of bombings earlier this week that killed or wounded dozens of people in the tourist city of Jaipur. In e-mail messages to TV news outlets, it demanded that India's government stop working with the US and Britain "on international issues" and warned of further attacks against "other important tourist places." Without explanation, police lowered the casualty count from Tuesday's bombings in Jaipur from 80 dead and 200 wounded to 61 and 90, respectively.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe reacted angrily Thursday as the Justice Ministry claimed power to extend the deadline for a presidential runoff election from 21 days to 90. That would push the voting to as late as July 31 instead of next week. The nation's Electoral Commission said it needed "more time for our preparations," but an MDC spokesman called the move "criminal and scandalous."
In a blunt new warning to the government of Colombia, leftist President Hugo Chávez said Venezuela's government "will do whatever it takes" to keep a US military base from being built along their border. Chávez told a gathering of Army troops Wednesday, "Colombia is launching a threat of war at us." The US uses an air base at Puerto de Manta, Ecuador, to interdict narcotics shipments, but the lease expires next year and will not be renewed. It has been suggested that the base be relocated to Colombia.
Leaders of Argentina's farmers were deciding whether to extend their latest strike over increased taxes on grain exports after the government refused again to rescind the hike. In a speech Wednesday, President Cristina Fernandez didn't mention the strike, although she appeared conciliatory in appealing for dialogue. Her interior minister, however, said the farmers "have to end" their protest.
President Leonel Fernandez of the Dominican Republic appeared all but certain to win enough votes in Friday's election to avoid a runoff in his bid for a third term. Late opinion polls showed him with a 55 percent to 37 percent lead over his closest rival, leftist Miguel Vargas Maldonado. Fernandez is credited with deft handling of the economy, but the election still is expected to hinge on such issues as the rising prices for food and the soaring oil-import bill. Above, Maldonado supporters cheer at his final campaign rally.
One of the world's most prestigious human rights prizes will go to an Uzbek woman jailed for criticizing her government, its sponsors said. Mutabar Tadjibaeva was chosen to receive the Martin Ennals Award for speaking out after Army troops fired on a gathering of unarmed people in May 2005. The government called the participants "terrorists" and said soldiers were among the 187 who died in the incident. Witnesses put the number of victims at more than 500. Tadjibaeva was convicted of slander and is confined to a psychiatric detention center. The award is named for the first secretary-general of Amnesty International.