Diminished supplies of natural gas were reported by customers in eastern Europe and Turkey as the row between Ukraine and Russia intensified.Gazprom, Russia's export monopoly, shut off the flow to Ukraine Jan. 1 and accused its counterpart there of stealing gas from pipelines bound for European and Turkish users. But the Ukrainians fired back, alleging that Gazprom had reduced the flow by more than half. The European Union called an emergency meeting on the issue for Monday, demanding that all supply contracts be honored.Skip to next paragraph
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Control of restive Diyala Province north of Baghdad was handed over to Iraqi forces Sunday, another move in the US disengagement from responsibility for day-to-day security. Last week, Iraq's government also assumed control of the Green Zone in Baghdad. Against that backdrop, however, a female terrorist infiltrated Shiite pilgrims gathering for the Ashura holy day observances in Baghdad's Kadhimiya neighborhood and triggered an explosive vest, killing herself and at least 37 other people and wounding 72 more.
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe fired 12 members of his cabinet Saturday, the surest sign yet that he's preparing to form a new government without the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The MDC agreed to a power-sharing deal with him last Sept. 15, but the two have squabbled since then over Mugabe's insistence that his ZANU-PF movement control the most powerful cabinet ministries. The MDC has said it cannot be a part of any government in which it is relegated to junior partner.
Over the bitter protests of Kenya's news media, President Mwai Kibaki signed a new law that gives the state power to regulate broadcasters. It allows stations to be raided, telephones to be tapped, and news content to be controlled. It also bans ownership of both broadcast stations and newspapers at the same time. Kibaki said the law will "safeguard our culture [and] moral values." Kenya's media are among the liveliest in Africa, but they also have a troubled history. During last year's postelection violence, live newscasts and talk shows were banned on security grounds.
Deciding against a legal challenge, Ghana's ruling party presidential candidate conceded defeat in last week's runoff election against opposition leader John Atta Mills. Atta Mills who's due to take the oath of office Wednesday, said he hoped to work with rival Nana Akufo-Addo "to build a better Ghana."
For the second time in less than a year, Australia's government said "no" to a Bush administration request that it accept inmates from the Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, military prison. But Australian analysts suggested that a similar request from incoming President Obama, who has pledged to close the facility, might be more favorably received. Most of the more than 250 detainees still at Guantánamo are from Islamic nations, and the Bush administration has been concerned that they might be tortured if they returned home.
Two powerful earthquakes and dozens of aftershocks struck eastern Indonesia Sunday causing loss of life, toppling buildings , cutting electricity, and disrupting transportation. At least four people were killed. The strongest of the quakes measured 7.6 on the open-ended scale and was felt as far away as Australia.
Only 14 people were reported safe after the overcrowded ferry they were aboard sank in a river in eastern Nepal Sunday. Authorities said at least two others drowned. Dozens more, most of them women and children, were unaccounted for, and fog and cold weather were complicating search efforts.