Despite claims of an assassination plot against him, opposition presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai announced he'll return to Zimbabwe Saturday. He said he wanted to work to end the political violence that has caused millions of people to flee the country. Tsvangirai has been abroad since claiming victory in the March election. He was expected to return last weekend to prepare for a runoff against incumbent Robert Mugabe but called off the trip because of the alleged plot.
In an unusual move, a senior Chinese official went on national TV Thursday to refute criticism that foreign donors have done little to help victims of the May 12 earthquake. Commerce Minister Chen Deming said, "We have seen the greatest ... donations from the international community ever in history." Complaints on Internet sites have called foreign companies "misers" and exhorted consumers to "support Chinese companies instead."
President Mikhail Saakashvili of Georgia claimed a strong victory by his United National Movement in Wednesday's parliamentary election and said he hoped international observers would confirm that voting had been "free and fair." But Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe monitors only partially agreed, citing alleged intimidation of voters and other concerns. Opposition leaders vowed to challenge the results in court.
An arm of the US government joined the Palestinian revitalization effort Thursday, committing itself to help back the risks taken by investors in the West Bank. The Overseas Private Investment Corp. agreed to guarantee all but the first $10,000 of a claim filed by exporters – up to a maximum $75,000 – due to trade restrictions imposed by Israel. More than $2 billion in investment opportunities are being offered at an international conference in the West Bank this week. On Wednesday, a Saudi company pledged to build $250 million worth of malls, hotels, and residential towers.
Thousands of immigrants were fleeing South Africa Thursday to escape attack by xenophobic mobs, even though President Thabo Mbeki ordered the Army to stop the violence. At least 42 foreigners have been killed by angry South Africans. The call-out of troops is the first since apartheid ended in 1994. Neighboring Mozambique sent buses to bring its nationals home.
A second round of discussions between the presidents of Greek and Turkish Cyprus is scheduled for Friday to try to build on the momentum of their first talks in March. That session set up six joint working groups to address issues blocking reunification of the island. But progress has been slow, and a Greek Cypriot government spokesman complained earlier this week that "on these core issues, we do not speak the same language."
Another defeat appeared likely for Britain's ruling Labour Party Thursday as voters chose a new member of Parliament from northwestern England. A victory by opposition Conservatives in the special election in Crewe and Nantwich would have national implications for Prime Minister Gordon Brown, analysts said, after Labour's loss earlier this month of the mayorship of London. Crewe and Nantwich has been in the Labour column for 26 years, but its legislator died in office last month.
Fifteen pending adoptions of Guatemalan infants were annulled Wednesday due to fraud and irregularities. All of the babies were to go to couples in the US. Criminal charges have been filed against lawyers, birth mothers, and others involved in the annulled adoptions. Earlier this month, the government suspended 2,286 pending cases until investigations could be completed.
Forty-five soldiers died Wednesday when a fuel truck slammed into the convoy taking them to their base in Nigeria following peacekeeping duty in Darfur. Roads in the area are poorly maintained, and accidents are frequent, reports said.