Hard-line President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe dismissed calls from other African leaders to cancel Friday's runoff election, saying, "We are sticking to our law." He said he was open to proposals from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, whose leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has pulled out of the runoff. Heavy preelection violence has produced international condemnation and calls for the runoff to be scrapped or at least postponed. Mugabe's counterpart in South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, refused to join that chorus Thursday, however. He has said he sees no political crisis in Zimbabwe and insisted that negotiations alone would lead to a resolution of the problem.
Another Palestinian rocket fell on a kibbutz in southern Israel Thursday, causing no injuries but further undermining the shaky cease-fire between the Jewish state and Hamas. Responsibility for the attack was claimed by the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, which said the truce must include the West Bank. Hamas has indicated that while it is bound by the week-old agreement, it will not confront other militants who violate the truce.
A car bomb exploded near government headquarters in Mosul, Iraq, Thursday, killing 18 people and wounding roughly 60 others as violence spiked after weeks of relative calm.In another incident, a suspected Al Qaeda militant penetrated a meeting of tribal sheikhs in Karmah, 20 miles west of Baghdad, and triggered a bomb that killed at least 20 people, apparently including US personnel.
The first sweeping change in Internet addresses in 25 years was OK'd Thursday. Meeting in Paris, the key oversight agency for the Web, Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers, voted to relax the rules on domain names such as .com, .net, and .org. Proposals before the voters called for domains in languages other than English and for commercial enterprises to be allowed to buy their own addresses.
Tens of thousands of angry Muslims fought with police across Kashmir for a fourth straight day over the transfer of land to a trust that operates a Hindu shrine. In all, the violence has led to three deaths and dozens of injuries, one of which happened as a protester tried to wrestle a gun away from a police officer. The protesters accuse authorities of planning to build Hindu settlements on the affected land, which would change the demographic balance of India's only Muslim-majority state. Above, a police vehicle swerves to avoid a bonfire of burning tires in Srinigar, Kashmir's capital.
Apparently having lost a power struggle with Nepal's former communist rebels, Prime Minister G.P. Koirala resigned Thursday. The move came despite his being the chief architect of the 2006 accord that brought the rebels into the political process. Koirala reportedly sought to be appointed to the ceremonial post of president but was denied that as well. Analysts said his resignation clears the way for ex-rebel leader Prachandra (who uses only one name) to succeed him.
President Jose Ramos-Horta of East Timor has accepted the post of UN high commissioner for human rights, members of parliament said. The UN did not comment, but an announcement to that effect is expected Friday. Ramos-Horta helped to lead the fledgling nation's bid for independence, for which he shared the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize. He was severely wounded last February in an assassination attempt.
Movie stars Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have donated $1 million through their foundation to aid women and children whose lives have been disrupted by the war in Iraq, reports said Thursday. It will be spent on counseling, books and other school supplies, and on schools in need of repair. Last year, the couple gave more than $300,000 to support relief programs for Darfur refugees.