Israel's government under Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu will be "a partner for peace" with the Palestinians, he told a conference in Jerusalem Wednesday. Netanyahu so far hasn't said he supports the establishment of a Palestinian state. But in the new coalition government with Defense Minister Ehud Barak's Labor Party, his Likud movement agreed to respect previous Israeli agreements, among them the goal of statehood.
Two days after posting rewards for 37 most-wanted drug traffickers, authorities in Mexico announced their first arrest: Hector Huerta Rios, a lieutenant in the Beltran Leyva cartel. He was captured by soldiers in a suburb of the industrial city of Monterrey. The announcement came as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was due to arrive in Mexico for a two-day visit that's expected to focus on drug-related violence.
The Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba vowed to inflict "costlier sacrifices" on Indian forces in Kashmir after the heaviest fighting in months resulted in at least 25 deaths. Indian commanders acknowledged losing eight soldiers; Lashkar-e-Taiba claimed it had killed three times that many. The group also is blamed for last November's terrorist attack on Mumbai (formerly Bombay).
A court in northern China became the first to accept a lawsuit against the dairy at the center of the tainted-milk scandal. Lawyers for families whose children were sickened by the melamine-laced formula said the court's decision shows "the government now is willing to use judicial means to solve the case." Until now, claims against the Sanlu Group, which has since collapsed, have been dealt with by government administrators. At least six children died after drinking the milk; almost 300,000 others became ill.
Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek of the Czech Republic insisted he should lead any new government despite losing a no-confidence vote in Parliament. Topolanek will serve in a caretaker role until the Czech Republic completes its term as president of the European Union in June. But he said his Civic Democrats Party would reject all rival efforts to form a new government before a national election can be held.
Cash-strapped Romania became the sixth eastern European state to receive an emergency bailout for its weakened economy. A consortium of lenders led by the International Monetary Fund announced $27 billion in loans over the next two years on condition that the government reduce a budget deficit of 4.5 percent of gross domestic product. Adding to the problem is concern that many of the estimated 2 million Romanians working abroad may return home to claim unemployment assistance as the deepening recession costs them their jobs.
Military commanders in Thailand denied that more than 100 heavily armed troops had crossed into Cambodia near a Buddhist temple at the center of a longstanding border dispute. But a Cambodian Army officer said the situation around the 11th-century Preah Vihear was "very tense, and both sides are getting ready to fight." The matter came to a head after the UN declared the temple a World Heritage Site last summer, with the two sides engaging in a brief clash in October.
Six more pilot whales were euthanized or died on their own Wednesday after beaching themselves again following rescue efforts in Western Australia State. Rescue coordinators called the development "disappointing" because only four of the animals that were pushed out to sea earlier apparently survived.In all, 90 whales and five dolphins became stranded Monday. The mass beaching was the fifth in Australia since November.