The European Union launched the first satellite in its Galileo navigation program from Kazakhstan Wednesday. The $4 billion project will eventually use about 30 satellites and is expected to more than double US-run GPS coverage, providing satellite navigation with a precision of three feet instead of the current 16 feet.

Two days after a Russian prosecutor said authorities had made "no mistakes" in handling last year's Beslan school siege, the head of a Russian parliamentary commission Wednesday blamed local officials for ignoring two August telegrams instructing them to bolster security on the first day of school, when the crisis began.

In an increasingly common scenario, police on Wednesday blocked a Chinese family from holding a news conference in a Beijing hotel to publicize complaints of police brutality in their village. Hundreds of people travel to Beijing each year to file complaints and often write to reporters. The case highlights a tense situation in many Chinese villages, where residents complain about collusion between police and local officials in offering allegedly unfair compensation for land requisitioned by the state for lucrative construction projects.

Bangladesh's largest Islamic party on Wednesday condemned a recent wave of suicide bombings in the country and called on all Muslims to shun militancy, saying Islam "disapproves [of] self-destruction."

German authorities banned an Islamic group Wednesday after seizing material allegedly inciting Muslims to kill Jews and Christians and carry out suicide attacks in Iraq. The state of Bavaria said the activities of the Multi-Kultur-Haus association threatened the coexistence of Germans and foreigners as well as security in the country.

Several Iraqi prison guards and detainees were killed in a shootout on Wednesday at a Baghdad high-security jail after at least one prisoner grabbed a rifle and opened fire, Iraqi military officials and police sources said. Elsewhere in Baghdad, Iraqi and US officials found an overcrowded interior ministry prison with a dozen inmates complaining of torture, the BBC reported.

Saudi Arabian police shot dead a militant on Saudi Arabia's most-wanted list Wednesday, the second major terror suspect to die in the country in 24 hours. The deaths of the two militants brings to 10 the number of people on the 15-most-wanted list who have been captured or killed. The list was issued in June.

Leftist rebels in Colombia ambushed a group of soldiers Tuesday who were protecting civilians, killing 28 in the deadliest rebel attack in a year.

Socialist Evo Morales will voluntarily take a 50 percent salary cut when he becomes president of Bolivia next month. Other government leaders will be expected to cut their pay as well, the BBC reported. The money saved will go to social programs.

Serbian police intercepted a mobile phone call made by key war crimes fugitive Gen. Ratko Mladic in what appears to be the most concrete progress so far in Serbia's hunt for the military leader.

Uganda's main opposition leader appeared in court Wednesday in his bid to be released from jail pending military trial for terrorism. Kizza Besigye, the most credible challenger to 19-year President Yoweri Museveni, flashed a victory sign, smiled broadly, and told the more than 100 supporters assembled in the courtroom that his "illegal detention will fail. Don't worry."

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.