A surface-to-surface missile capable of striking targets in Israel as well as in southern Europe was test-fired Wednesday by Iran. As it was being launched, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a national TV audience that the Islamic republic would "crush under its foot" any other power showing "impudence" toward it. The test was the second in two days. A similar launch took place along the border with Iraq Tuesday. Against that backdrop, US, Russian, European, and Chinese diplomats are to meet Thursday to discuss their next move in the nuclear standoff with Iran.
Nine people died and dozens more were hurt in Baghdad in a third straight day of rush-hour bombings. Analysts said such attacks – at least 19 so far this month – are on pace to exceed the totals for both October and September.
Two weeks after being asked for help, Angola's government said it is mobilizing troops to send to Congo. Although it didn't specify how many would go or what their mission would be, analysts said worry that the fighting in eastern Congo will engulf the region now will intensify. Angola's move follows a weekend meeting of African leaders in response to Congo's call for help. Rebels under Laurent Nkunda have vowed to fight anyone who comes to Congo's assistance.
An immediate cease-fire in Darfur was declared by Sudan's president. Omar Hassan al-Bashir also said his government would seek to disarm "the warring factions" in the region, "provided that an effective monitoring mechanism is ... observed by all involved parties." One of the region's most important rebel groups, the Justice and Equality Movement, rejected the truce as unserious and said it would not stop fighting.
Saying, "It's obvious that holding ... elections around Christmas would be unwise," Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko told interviewers that voting for a new parliament will be delayed until early next year. The president, who is in a power struggle with Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, dissolved the legislature Oct. 8, forcing a new election. But under Tymoshenko, parliament refused to vote the funding for it. Had it been held Dec. 7 as planned, it would have been the third in three years.
By a 500-to-21 vote, members of Algeria's parliament rescinded term limits for the office of president. The move clears the way for Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who has served since 1999, to seek as many more five-year terms as he likes. His current term expires next year. He has not yet said whether he'd run again. Algeria's politics are of keen interest internationally because it is among the world leaders in the production and export of natural gas.
Suspicion fell on Mexico's notorious Sinaloa drug cartel for the kidnapping of 27 laborers from a produce farm near Culiacan, the state capital. The workers, all men, were roused from sleep before dawn and driven away. Reports said the farm owner has ties to rival traffickers and suggested that the captives would be forced to grow marijuana for the Sinaloa cartel.
At least two people were killed in Nicaragua as the main opposition party rejected the results of last Sunday's election and demanded a review by the UN, the European Union, or the Organization of American States (OAS). Leftist President Daniel Ortega's Sandinistas claimed to have won 94 of 146 local government races in the voting, for which the OAS was denied permission to send observers. A group called Ethics and Transparency also was turned down but said it had monitored polling places anyway and recorded "irregularities" at 32 percent of them.