Despite a new vow of "holy war" by Al Qaeda terrorists, Iraqi officials reopened the nation's borders and Baghdad airport and began counting the millions of ballots from Sunday's election. The threat, on an Islamist website, said in part, "We will continue the jihad until the banner of Islam flutters over Iraq." Interim President Ghazi al-Yawer told a news conference that "it's complete nonsense" to ask US and other foreign troops to leave Iraq "in this vacuum of power," but that a drop in their numbers "could" be seen by year's end.
A UN finding that genocide in Sudan's Darfur region wasn't a policy of the government was rejected by the nation's leadership as well as by the rebels who have been fighting it. The latter said the commission that prepared the report had decided against accusing the government of genocide for political reasons and maintained that "there are hundreds of mass graves" its investigators "did not go to." The government accused the commission of bias and said its findings of mass killings, torture, and other atrocities warranting criminal prosecution "have not been proven."
The government of Nepal was fired by King Gyanendra, who assumed power for the next three years. He also declared a state of emergency and suspended freedom of speech, the press, and the right to assemble peaceably. His move was the second of its type in three years. The king said the deposed government had failed to hold elections or attempt to forge a peace with communist rebels.
Over the objections of church groups, Canada's minority government asked Parliament to consider legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage. The measure would make Canada the third nation, after Belgium and the Netherlands, to embrace such a policy, although the clergy would not be forced to perform same-sex weddings. The bill is expected to pass.
A woman in her mid-20s died in southern Vietnam of bird flu, raising new worry that another outbreak of the virus is spreading among humans. The victim, a Cambodian national, was the 13th to succumb in Vietnam since Dec. 30. Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City, southern Vietnam's largest, banned the raising of poultry there for the rest of the year. The city is to be the host of a UN conference later this month on ways of combating the disease. Above, employees of a processing plant in Hanoi, the capital, clean chickens for market.