In a long-anticipated move, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon invited the opposition Labor Party into his minority government, and both sides said they expect to announce a deal soon. The chief sticking point: what cabinet post to offer Labor leader Shimon Peres, since the choicest ministries already are headed by senior members of Sharon's Likud movement. But if a Likud-Labor alliance can be forged, analysts said it would enhance Sharon's strategy to withdraw from the Gaza Strip next year. He warned rebellious Likud members that he'd call an early national election if they try to block Labor from joining the coalition.
Saying, "Enough! Stop!" the interim president of Iraq warned that his government would use "a very sharp sword" against "anyone who wants to threaten the security of this country." Ghazi al-Yawer said an amnesty would be offered to some resisters if they surrendered their weapons, but warned: "This is your last chance." Yawer and other leaders have said they plan to reinstate the death penalty following the amnesty period, meaning deposed dictator Sadam Hussein could be executed if found guilty at trial. But in a statement, the European Union, which has pledged hundred of millions of dollars toward Iraq's reconstruction, said it "reconfirms opposition to the death penalty in all cases."
Final results are expected to show that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's Liberal Democratic Party failed to meet its own modest goal of retaining 51 seats in the upper house of parliament in Sunday's election. The LDP won only 49 of 121 seats at stake, although its coalition partners did well enough to allow Koizumi to remain in power and continue his reform agenda. The coalition also holds a firm majority in the more powerful lower house. The big winners in the upper house voting were the opposition Democrats, who rode public dissatisfaction with Japan's role in rebuilding Iraq to a gain of 12 seats - from 38 to 50.
Amid 104-degree F. temperatures, a massive blackout hit Athens and the rest of southern Greece, raising new concerns about the nation's readiness to stage the Olympic Summer Games, which open a month from Tuesday. Among other problems, the power failure, which was blamed on "mismanagement" of the electricity grid, halted the demonstration of the new railway link into the city from the airport - a key feature of the Olympics infrastructure.