The transition to an interim Iraqi government began occurring rapidly Tuesday with the selection of Sheikh Ghazi al-Yawar as president. Hours later, the Governing Council, the coalition-appointed body that set the stage for the interim government, decided to dissolve immediately rather than remain in office until June 30, the date previously set for disbanding it. Yawar, head of the council, was not the first choice of Paul Bremer, the US governor of Iraq, who preferred that Adnan Pachachi, a former foreign minister, get the job. In his first public remarks, Yawar, who has been critical of US occupation, called for the UN Security Council to grant Iraq's interim government "full sovereignty." A resolution about what that means for the president and his 26-member Cabinet is under discussion. In an act with no known connections to the government announcement, a car bomb blew up just outside the green zone headquarters of the US-led coalition Tuesday in central Baghdad. In an unconfirmed report, police said 10 people were killed.
Pakistani police deployed to quell possible tit-for-tat sectarian violence struggled to control rioters in Karachi, where angry Shiite Muslims mourned the deaths of 19 people at a mosque destroyed Tuesday in an apparent suicide bombing. The police clashed with rioters at funeral ceremonies that occurred less than 24 hours after the murder of Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai, a radical cleric of Pakistan's majority Sunni Muslim sect. Thousands of police and paramilitary troops were deployed after Shamzai's execution-style killing in hopes of staving off any retributive attacks on Shiite mosques. Rioters vented their anger over the police's failure to protect the prominent Karachi mosque by setting vehicles ablaze and pelting the police with stones.
The first man convicted of terrorism in Australia using tougher new laws was sentenced to nine years in prison Tuesday. Jack Roche, a British-born Muslim convert, had plotted to blow up the Israeli Embassy in Canberra for an Al Qaeda-linked group. Last week, Roche, shown above during a television interview, changed his plea to guilty.
No direct link has been found between Iran's atomic energy program and development of a nuclear bomb, but it's premature to draw conclusions, said the head of the UN's nuclear watchdog group Tuesday. At a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Bratislava, Slovakia, Mohamed ElBaradei said that North Korea poses a bigger proliferation threat than Iran.
Nelson Mandela, who led South Africa out of the apartheid era and became his country's first black president, formally bowed out of public life Tuesday. His schedule has remained hectic since retiring from active politics in 1999, and now he plans to spend time with family and friends and in writing the second volume of his memoirs.