Iran is coming so close to the development of a nuclear weapon that Israel has a year left to preempt an attack, the latter's former intelligence chief said Sunday. Shabtai Shavit told Britain's Sunday Telegraph, "What's left is a military action" if diplomacy and sanctions against Iran don't work. Iranian Foreign Minister Manoucher Mottaki said he believes Israel is in no position to attack the widely dispersed nuclear facilities, and Iran's Revolutionary Guard commander said an Israeli or US attack will cause the Islamic republic to "impose control" over oil shipping in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz.
Hundreds of South Koreans were hurt Sunday at another protest in Seoul over the resumption of beef imports from the US. Ignoring assurances by visiting Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice over the health of American cattle, the protesters fought police with steel pipes and rocks. The latter retaliated with water cannon. The use of tear gas has been banned in South Korea since 1999, but the Justice Ministry said police may have no choice but to resort to it if such clashes continue.
Three people were killed in Indian-controlled Kashmir over the weekend as police fired live ammunition and tear gas to quell protests by Muslims over the transfer of land to a Hindu trust. The demonstrations, now a week old, caused the People's Democratic Party, a partner in the state coalition government, to withdraw its support. The protests will continue, organizers vowed, until "we achieve freedom from Indian domination."
Defying Kosovo's declaration of independence and its UN administrators, Serb leaders formed their own parliament Sunday. A spokesman said of the move, "We will not allow the formation of another Albanian state in this part of Europe." The assembly will have no power, but analysts said it almost certainly will increase tensions between the Serb minority and ethnic Albanians, who make up 90 percent of the population.
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim of Malaysia fled to Turkey's Embassy in Kuala Lumpur Sunday, calling a new sodomy allegation against him "a complete fabrication." The onetime deputy prime minister was imprisoned on the same charge in the late 1990s until the nation's highest court overturned his conviction and freed him four years ago. The new accusation was made by an aide in his early 20s at a time when the three-party coalition Anwar leads was threatening to bring down the ruling National Front.
An estimated 10,000 people set fire to government buildings and more than a dozen police vehicles in southwestern China to vent their fury over the alleged coverup of a teenager's death, reports said Sunday. The violence in Guizhou Province came after authorities said the high school student had committed suicide by jumping from a bridge. A Hong Kong-based human rights group said she had been raped and murdered by men with links to the local security bureau.
A police officer and five other people were killed Saturday in Mexico, bringing to nine the number of law enforcement deaths there in a 48-hour span – and more than 450 since the government began a crackdown on organized crime two years ago. Late Thursday night, six other policemen were killed by automatic weapons fire when their patrol ran into a roadblock set up by suspected drug-gang hit men in Sinaloa State.
Member nations of the new Bank of the South announced it will establish a capital fund of $10 billion for development projects across South America. The bank was set up by Venezuela last fall as a counterweight to the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and private US lenders.