At a minimum, both sides in Thursday's scheduled talks between Kashmiri separatists and senior Indian government leaders said they expect "to break the ice" on the longstanding dispute over the region's independence. No agenda is set, but a spokesman for the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, an alliance of moderate Islamic separatist groups, said the Indian side would be asked to declare a cease-fire. Decades of fighting in Kashmir have killed an estimated 65,000 people, and tensions there remain high. (Below, an Indian border policeman orders a Kashmiri Muslim to show his hands.) Militant separatists based in neighboring Pakistan oppose the talks, the first with Indian officials at this high a level. Government-to-government discussions on Kashmir are expected to open next month.
There are signs that Iran is reneging on its promise to suspend a process used in making nuclear weapons, diplomats and experts in the field said. They said the Tehran government appears to be using semantics - differences in meaning of the word "suspend" - to keep portions of its uranium-enrichment program operational. The UN's International Atomic Energy Agency asked Iran last fall to halt "activities" related to uranium enrichment, but the latter reportedly continues to assemble the equipment used to do so. In his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, President Bush specifically cited Iran's "commitment" not to develop nuclear weapons.
If any senior members of the Iranian government end up resigning over the nation's elections furor, President Mohamad Khatami won't be among them, he said. Khatami told journalists he intends to "continue my service to the people." He was believed to be among government officials ready to quit because of the disqualification of thousands of would-be reform candidates for parliament in next month's voting.
For the fifth time, the only independent daily newspaper in Zimbabwe won a court order allowing it to resume publishing. But authorities have ignored the previous rulings in favor of the Daily News, a regular critic of hard-line President Robert Mugabe, and it wasn't clear whether the latest order would be obeyed either. Mugabe's information minister has said the High Court lacks jurisdiction in the case. Publication of the paper was banned in September, and police have been occupying its offices ever since.