Opposition presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai of Zimbabwe resumed campaigning Thursday after being released from nine hours of detention by police. But US and British diplomats seeking to investigate incidents of violence related to the June 27 runoff election were stopped at a roadblock by so-called war veterans loyal to incumbent Robert Mugabe. One of the Americans was beaten, and the diplomats were detained but later freed, reports said.
Justices of Turkey's highest court tossed out the ruling party's attempt to allow the wearing of head scarves by women college students. The court upheld an appeal of that effort by opposition leaders, ruling that the symbol of political Islam runs counter to secular principles in the Constitution. Analysts said the decision would bolster a separate court case that seeks to shut down Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamic-based Justice and Development Party.
Members of Northern Ireland's Assembly met Thursday's deadline to elect Protestant Peter Robinson as their new first minister, averting the potential collapse of the power-sharing government. Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein, which represents the Catholic minority, was reelected as deputy first minister.
Thousands of South Koreans massed in Seoul for a new three-day series of protests, and opposition members of parliament boycotted its opening session to try to force a renegotiation of the new beef deal with the US. One protester was reported in critical condition after setting himself on fire. The demonstrators aren't satisfied with a request that no beef be imported from cattle that were at least 30 months old when slaughtered. US Ambassador Alexander Vershbow apologized for saying that Koreans should "learn more about the science" of meat safety.
Three states in India were at a virtual standstill Thursday because of protests over a sharp increase in the price of fuel, and organizers vowed that they'd continue for at least a week. India imports almost 75 percent of its oil and subsidizes the retail prices of all derivatives, among them bottled cooking gas. Oil Minister Murli Deora said the government had no choice but to raise prices 10 percent because it was losing tens of millions of dollars. Above, protesters burn an effigy of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Neighboring countries appeared unconvinced by Slovenia's assurances that its nuclear power plant is safe. The plant was shut down Wednesday night after water leaked from its cooling system. Although radiation levels remained normal, Germany's environment minister called the situation a "serious incident." His Austrian counterpart said it confirmed the view that nuclear reactors pose an unnecessary risk to health and the environment. Slovenia proposes to build a second reactor by 2013.
If it will help to resolve Nepal's political deadlock, the former communist rebels said Thursday they'll drop their claim to the presidency. But they said they do not want the post to go to their chief rival, the Congress Party, insisting that the choice should be "a nonpartisan person from civil society." The former rebels had demanded both the presidency and the prime ministership since they won the most seats in April's election for a Constituent Assembly to rewrite the Constitution.
A police officer, school teachers, and a sports federation administrator were among 70 people arrested in a nationwide investigation into child pornography in Australia. Twenty others were summoned to appear in court on related grounds, and authorities said additional arrests were expected. At least four children were removed from their homes for safety reasons.