Almost a year after withdrawing from Iraq's Shiite-led government, the main Sunni political bloc said Tuesday it is set to return. Such a move by the Accordance Front would be seen as a major breakthrough. A spokesman for the group said many of its demands – chief among them an amnesty for Sunnis arrested in security crackdowns – had been met.
Border crossings between Israel and the Gaza Strip were closed again Tuesday after the military said its radar had detected the firing of another rocket by Palestinian militants in violation of their truce. Hamas, which controls Gaza, denied there was a new violation and accused Israel of looking for excuses to renege on its commitments under the cease-fire.
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe not only won't step down but Western critics of his reelection last week can "go hang – a thousand times," his spokesman said Tuesday. The aide also rejected appeals for Mugabe to consider a so-called grand coalition with his political opposition, as was implemented earlier this year in Kenya. Zimbabwe must determine its future "free from outside interference," he said.
Oral testimony began Tuesday as the prosecution outlined its case for banning Turkey's ruling party. In a 90-minute presentation to the Constitutional Court, it reportedly said the Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sought to undermine Turkey's traditional secular state by promoting Islamic practices. Erdogan, President Abdullah Gul, and 69 other AKP leaders should be forbidden from politics for five years, it also argued. The AKP is due to respond Thursday.
To try to defuse tensions in Muslim-dominated Kashmir, the state government Tuesday abandoned a plan that would have transferred land to a Hindu trust. But there was no indication that the move appeased either camp. Muslims and Hindus both held new protests, and one more person was killed and 57 others wounded. In Srinagar, the state capital, businesses, schools, and other facilities remained closed. In all, two weeks of violence over the issue have resulted in at least five deaths and hundreds of injuries. Above, police fire tear gas at Hindu protesters.
Another 20 Tamil separatists were killed in gunbattles and Sri Lanka government jets bombed two strategic rebel bases Monday night and early Tuesday as the Army's chief claimed that resistance to his forces was crumbling. Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka said the rebels have been "already defeated" as a conventional force, although they remain capable of low-level attacks. He predicted the separatists would lose control over the population of wide areas in the island's northern Jaffna Peninsula within a year.
Despite published reports, law-enforcement officials in Portugal denied that their high-profile investigation into the disappearance of a young British tourist is over. Citing police sources, newspapers in Lisbon said the case of 5-year-old Madeleine McCann had grown cold for lack of evidence, that the search for her soon would be called off, and that suspects – among them her parents – no longer would be under scrutiny. The case has drawn global interest since Madeleine vanished while on a family vacation in Portugal in May 2007.
A ban on smoking in restaurants, cafes, bars, and other public establishments went into effect in the Netherlands Tuesday. A system of escalating fines will apply for establishments repeatedly caught violating the policy. Smoking marijuana, which is legal in licensed cafes, is not affected.