Accusing South Korea of "confrontational" tactics, rival North Korea's government said Mon-day it will halt cross-border rail service and impose other restrictions beginning Dec. 1. Among them: an end to tours of the historic city of Kaesong and the expulsion of some South Koreans who work in a jointly run industrial zone there. South Korean officials called the move "grave." The announcement came amid preparations for the next round of six-way talks on North Korea's nuclear program, due to begin Dec. 8.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Another try at salvaging the power-sharing deal in Zimbabwe will be made Tuesday, with ex-South African President Thabo Mbeki again serving as mediator. Mbeki's successor, Kgalema Motlanthe, warned that the urgency has never been greater and that Zimbabwe "may implode" if a legitimate government isn't seated soon. Hundreds of Zimbabweans have died in a cholera outbreak, which is blamed on a breakdown of the public health system and reportedly has spread across the border into South Africa.
Police in Bangkok, Thailand, retreated Monday rather than confront an estimated 10,000 antigovernment protesters who surrounded parliament, preventing action on international agreements that are due to be signed at an imminent regional summit conference. The incident contrasted sharply with the violent clash last month when protesters also blocked access to the legislature. Despite the persistent opposition to his rule, Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat repeated his vow not to resign.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain planned to present a $30 billion stimulus plan to Parliament Tuesday in hopes of keeping a recession from worsening. He blasted his Conservative opponents as lacking compassion for criticizing the likely centerpiece: a 2.5 percent cut in the value-added tax. Conservative leaders say the cut will cause the budget deficit to soar and will have to be paid for with a heavy tax increase later. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he also is considering a stimulus package, acknowledging that "a technical recession" there may last into early 2009.
Tamil separatist rebels and Sri Lanka's government forces were claiming to have inflicted heavy casualties on each other as fighting edged closer to Kilinochchi, the de facto rebel capital. Neither claim could be verified. But analysts said clues to the rebels' situation may come Thursday when their leader delivers his annual "heroes day" address.
Although no one was hurt, a shooting incident involving Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili's motorcade raised tensions with Russia to new heights. Saakashvili and Polish leader Lech Kaczynski were traveling near territory controlled by Russian troops and South Ossetian separatists Sunday when shots were fired from a distance of about 100 feet. Both men blamed Russian soldiers for the incident. But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov strongly denied the accusation and accused Georgia of "a real provocation."
Rescue crews in helicopters and motorboats were working around the clock to pull stranded residents of southern Brazil out of their flooded homes, although torrential rains that began last Thursday finally were easing. At least 33 people were reported dead and up to a quarter-million others were without electricity, authorities said. The rains also caused landslides that were blocking roads, cutting off access to four communities.