Hours after yet another Pakistani warning about incursions on its soil, an airstrike killed nine people and wounded two others at a school owned by a pro-Taliban Islamic cleric. Quoting local sources in the South Waziristan tribal area, Pakistani intelligence sources said the strike had come from a suspected US spy drone. The Washington Post reported that Pakistan plans to arm thousands of anti-Taliban tribesmen in the region in hopes of replicating the successful "Awakening" movement against Al Qaeda in Iraq.Skip to next paragraph
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US forces transferred control over security in Iraq's Shiite-dominated Babil Province to government troops Thursday, leaving only six areas still in American hands. Only if asked for help will the Americans be involved in future security operations there, officials said. Meanwhile, however, a terrorist in Baghdad rammed his explosives-laden car into a motorcade carrying Labor Minister Mahmoud Mohammad al-Radhi, a Shiite. He escaped injury, but 13 other people were killed.
Defying China's government, the European Union awarded its prestigious annual human rights prize to dissident activist Hu Jia. Hu, who is serving a 3-1/2-year prison term for subversion of state power, was named the winner of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. In Beijing, the Internal Affairs Ministry called the announcement "criminal interference in China's judicial sovereignty." China had sought to deny Hu both the Sakharov award and the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize, for which he also was a nominee. The Nobel Prize went instead to Finnish diplomat Martti Ahtissari earlier this month.
With President Umaru YarAdua's fate in the balance, the Supreme Court of Nigeria delayed its decision Thursday on whether he was elected legitimately last year. The ruling, a court spokesman said, will be revealed at an unspecified later date. Election monitors declared the April 2007 vote was flawed, and two rivals filed challenges seeking to annul the results. YarAdua has pledged to "step down immediately" if the court rules against him.
In spite of a pledge not to do so, Colombian police fired on ethnic Indian protesters with live ammunition last week, President Álvaro Uribe conceded. But in reversing his original stance on the incident, he maintained at a news conference Wednesday that two people who died in the incident had been handling a home-made bomb that exploded. The Indians have been demonstrating since Oct. 10 to demand that Uribe's government honor promises to protect their land.
Police in Mexico City said one of 16 people arrested following a shootout earlier this week is Jesus Zambada Garcia, a leader of the notorious Sinaloa drug cartel. Zambada gave a false name when he was captured, and his identity couldn't be confirmed until days later. The Justice Ministry called his arrest "one of the most significant" in President Felipe Calderón's uphill campaign against the drug trade.
All pupils in England's state-supported primary schools must be instructed in sex education, the government announced Thursday. The order applies to children as young as age 5. Schools Minister Jim Knight said, "It's vital that this information does not come from playground rumor or mixed messages from the media." According to records, 4,376 girls under 16 in Britain had abortions last year, the highest rate in Western Europe.
At least 27 people died and 17 others were hurt in a massive explosion Thursday at an illegal fireworks factory in western India. The blast occurred in Deeg, 120 miles northwest of Jaipur, capital of Rajasthan State. Such accidents are not uncommon in India, where illegal fireworks factories spring up to meet demand before the annual Hindu festival of lights in late October.