Terrorists exploded two bombs strapped to their bodies in Baghdad's police academy Tuesday, killing themselves and at least 41 officers and students - seven of them women. Seventy-three others were hurt in the latest in a relentless toll of preelection violence. Meanwhile, Al Jazeera TV broadcast an Islamic terrorist video, purportedly of an American hostage whose captors said they'd execute him within 48 hours unless all Iraqis in prison were freed.
A tough new response was begun by Israeli military forces to the latest terrorist bombing by Palestinians as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon gave the go-ahead to target leaders of Islamic Jihad. Troops closed off the West Bank and Gaza Strip, denying almost all Palestinians access to Israel proper, and arrested more than a dozen militants. The closure will be of indefinite duration, the Army said. The Palestinian Authority condemned Monday's attack in the city of Netanya, which killed the bomber and four Israelis, and arrested three Islamic Jihad members. But Israel's Foreign Ministry rejected the gesture as insufficient.
In a new threat to back out of the six-nation talks on its nuclear weapons program, North Korea's government said a resumption "is impossible" unless the US first lifts a program of sanctions. The measures were imposed by the Bush administration in September on grounds that the North has been financing its nuclear activities through trafficking in narcotics and circulating counterfeit US currency. The administration also has denied North Korea's contention that it offered negotiations aimed at ending the sanctions. In the most recent round of talks, the North agreed to abandon its nuclear ambitions in exchange for a package of aid and security guarantees. But it quickly backpedaled, saying the deal was contingent on the gift of a nuclear reactor.
Seven more soldiers were killed in an explosion blamed on Tamil rebels in Sri Lanka's Jaffna Peninsula - the second attack of its type in three days. Unhurt in the blast were three Swiss nationals involved in reconstruction work after the tsunami of last Dec. 26. A spokesman for the Tamils denied involvement, but the government of President Mahinda Rajapakse accused them of a "stealth war" under cover of the 2002 cease-fire. New Army chief Sarath Fonseka called for contacts with the rebels to "talk about the situation." He vowed not to fall prey to provocations. Seven other soldiers died in a bomb blast Sunday.
As expected, the opposition Conservative Party in Britain elected David Cameron as its new leader in the hope he can lead it back to power in the next national election. He swamped his rival for the post, David Davis, by 134,446 votes to 64,398. Davis had won the first round of voting, among Tory members of Parliament. The Tories were defeated by the Labour Party of Prime Minister Tony Blair in 1997, 2001, and again earlier this year.
At least 119 people died when an Iranian Air Force transport plane slammed into an apartment building on the outskirts of Tehran. Authorities said the pilot had been attempting an emergency landing after radioing that he was experiencing engine trouble on take-off. Twenty-five of the dead had lived in the building, which was in flames, and the number was expected to rise because other residents were rushed to hospitals in critical condition.
Thousands of people on the South Pacific island of Vanuatu were being evacuated from villages below Mount Manaro, described by experts as "one of the most dangerous" volcanoes in the world. Manaro began spewing ash and steam Nov. 27 and now is "vibrating all the time," the experts said. The potential for a major eruption is heightened because of a lake in the crater that is being forced up toward the rim by the pressure.