Despite further easing of tensions over disputed Kashmir, a leading Muslim guerrilla movement said it would intensify its armed attacks against Indian targets because "jihad is the only solution to the issue." The proclamation by Hezb-ul Mujahedeen came as India announced it would allow the resumption of Pakistani commercial flights through its airspace. US Defense Secretary Rumsfeld is due in India today to try to further cool bilateral anger.
The former king of Afghanistan took himself out of the running for any post in the war-torn country's new government. Mohamad Zahir's announcement came in a bid to end chaos that caused a one-day delay in the loya jirga, or grand council, that is charged with choosing a three-year transitional administration. The ex-monarch threw his support to interim leader Hamid Karzai.
In another sign that European voters are rejecting the political left, the first round of France's parliamentary elections Sunday showed a sharp swing to center-right parties that could give President Jacques Chirac a solid majority. Only next Sunday's runoffs stand between the newly reelected Chirac and the assurance of more than 380 of parliament's 577 seats. He has shared power for the past five years with left-wing rivals. Italy, Portugal, Denmark, and, most recently, the Netherlands also have swung to the right since last fall.
An investigation was ordered into why police failed to control rioting that erupted in Moscow after Russia's 1-0 loss to Japan in a World Cup soccer game. Two people died and dozens of others were hurt in the violence as thousands of "hooligans" smashed cars (below) and restaurant and worker dormitory windows, attacked Japanese pedestrians on the street, and fought with police. Telecasts of further World Cup games were banned, and Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov warned that the incident could end the city's hopes to serve as host of the European finals for the next World Cup in 2008.
Government troops conducting a manhunt for Muslim extremist guerrillas in the southern Philippines warned that their prey may attempt new kidnappings to use for ransom and as human shields. As many as 60 Abu Sayyaf rebels are estimated to be on the run after losing their final hostages Friday in a gun battle when their camp was surprised by an Army unit. The government rushed 200 reinforcement troops to the region and urged neighboring nations to deny the rebels sanctuary if they escape the Philippines.
A proposed power-sharing government was rejected by both claimants to the presidency of Madagascar, ending discussions on how to end its political crisis on a note of failure. Foreign diplomats in the Indian Ocean island nation said the talks offered longtime leader Didier Ratsiraka, who has refused to acknowledge defeat at the polls last December, "an honorable way out" of the power struggle. His rejection of the power-sharing plan, they added, eliminated all reasons not to "position ourselves in favor of [Marc] Ravalomanana," Ratsiraka's rival, who was declared the winner by the courts.