The Associated Press said it has obtained – but will not release – a video that appears to show Taliban militants beheading a hostage in western Pakistan. The victim: Polish engineer Piotr Stanczak, who was kidnapped on a surveying project last September. An accompanying narrative blames Pakistan's government for the execution because it didn't meet demands for the release of Taliban prisoners, the AP said. If the video proves authentic, the beheading would be the first known to have taken place in Pakistan since that of American journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002.Skip to next paragraph
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A female Tamil separatist bomber hid among civilians fleeing Sri Lanka's war zone Monday and detonated her explosives, killing herself and at least 27 other people. Ninety more were wounded. Most of the dead were soldiers processing the refugees. Analysts warned that more such attacks may come as government forces close in on a final victory over the rebels on the battlefield and the latter lose control of their civilian sympathizers.
A plan that would force closure of the US air base in Kyrgyzstan passed its first hurdle in parliament, with one senior member saying, "This is for the security of our country." Final approval is expected as soon as the end of the week, although some legislators were arguing that it should wait until Kyrgyzstan receives financial aid pledged by Russia for evicting the Americans. The base is used to supply US forces fighting in neighboring Afghanistan. According to a BBC report, Kazakhstan has offered to fill the vacuum caused by closure of the base, but only for shipment of nonmilitary cargo.
Suspicion fell on ETA, the Basque separatist movement, for a powerful car bomb blast that caused heavy damage but no injuries in a Madrid business park Monday. A caller claiming to represent the group warned of the bomb 90 minutes before it exploded, allowing time to evacuate employees from nearby buildings. The attack followed a Supreme Court ruling that two Basque political parties may not compete in regional elections because of their alleged ties to ETA.
The defense minister of Mada-gascar resigned Monday in what analysts said was a likely sign that the Army is losing confidence in President Marc Ravalomanana. Cecile Manorohanta, according to reports, said she no longer could serve in a government that condoned the shooting of civilians. Last weekend, police killed 28 people in an antigovernment protest and wounded more than 200 others.
Approval was expected in Italy's upper house of Parliament as soon as Tuesday for legislation that would force a hospital to continue life-support measures for a patient whose condition is considered irreversible. The case, which has divided the country, involves 1992 car crash victim Eluana Englaro but has implications for others being kept alive by feeding tubes. A respected opinion poll shows equal numbers of Italians on each side of the issue.
Nissan Motor Co. became the latest Japanese industrial giant to announce an operating loss and massive layoffs. Company chief Carlos Ghosn told a news briefing in Tokyo Monday that the automaker must cut 20,000 jobs from its payroll, more than half of them in Japan. The company expects to post a $2.9 billion net loss for its fiscal year ending next month, its first in nine years.
By a 59.6 percent to 40.4 percent margin, voters in Switzerland approved a controversial referendum that allows people from European Union states to live and work there, the final tally showed Monday. It extends and broadens an existing agreement with the EU to include the two newest members, Bulgaria and Romania. The referendum drew heated opposition from anti-immigrant groups. Switzerland is not in the EU.