Gen. David Petraeus made his first visit to Pakistan's capital Monday since taking command of the war in neighboring Afghanistan and was warned that US missile strikes are generating anti-American "outrage." Defense Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Muktar told Petraeus that, if provided with the intelligence on which US forces launch such attacks, "we will also be able to do that." Muktar said Pakistan is in a war for survival against Islamist militancy.Skip to next paragraph
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Christian leaders in Iraq reacted angrily to parliament's approval of legislation aimed at guaranteeing seats on provincial councils for religious minorities. The issue was seen as the final legal obstacle to holding vital council elections in January. But the measure provides for only one Christian seat in such key areas as Baghdad; Basra, the No. 2 city; and Ninevah, while other versions would have been more generous. Lawmakers complained of having inadequate census data on Christians, thousands of whom have fled Iraq over the past five years.
With protesters massed outside, (above) the highest-ranking Chinese official in 60 years began a visit to Taiwan Monday. Chen Yunlin and negotiators for the island's government reached informal agreement on such matters as increasing commercial flights, shipping routes for cargo, and food-safety inspections. Chen's visit, analysts said, likely would result in Taiwan getting most of what it wants since China hopes for the reelection of President Ma Ying-jeou over any challengers who are hostile toward the mainland.
Lawyers in Indonesia filed a new challenge against the executions of three Islamist militants who bombed Bali nightclubs in 2002. But as it did with a previous appeal late last month, the Supreme Court said all legal options in the case have been exhausted and the executions will not be changed or delayed. Ambulances arrived Monday at the prison where the militants are being held, a possible indication that the sentences could be carried out at any moment.
Pension fund executives were expected to propose an alternative to Argentina's government Monday that would fend off nationalization of the private retirement system. But it was unclear whether the proposal would gain traction, since President Cristina Fernandez's nationalization plan "probably" will be passed by the lower house of Congress as soon as Tuesday, a key legislator said. Two opposition lawmakers told Bloomberg news service they favor eliminating the $26 billion private pension system but will seek assurances that the money not be used to fund government spending.
Almost two years after being deployed across Bangladesh to enforce a state of emergency, thousands of Army troops are returning to their bases, the government said Monday. The nation is due to hold an election Dec. 18, and the soldiers may be sent back out to keep order at polling places, officials said. The vote originally was set for January 2007 but was postponed after weeks of violence between supporters of rival former prime ministers Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina.
Eleven more police officers have been shot to death in the state that surrounds Mexico City, reports said Sunday, in another setback in the government's fight against drug trafficking. It wasn't clear whether the killings were coordinated, prosecutors said, although 10 suspects in custody all have ties to drug gangs.
Sixty would-be refugees trying to escape poverty in the Horn of Africa were found dead on a beach in Yemen, a humanitarian aid organization reported Monday. Doctors Without Borders said smugglers operating the boat in which the Somalis and Ethiopians were riding apparently forced them overboard after seeing lights that might have been from a Coast Guard station. An estimated 32,000 Africans have reached Yemen so far this year after crossing the Gulf of Aden by boat.