Reverberations continued Monday among Muslims from a controversy sparked by a speech Pope Benedict XVI gave during a tour of his native Germany last week. An association representing 57 Islamic nations called the speech "regrettable" and asked the UN Human Rights Council to address "religious tolerance and related issues" during council meetings that run until Oct. 6 in Vienna. Benedict has said he was "deeply sorry" for quoting a medieval text that characterized some of the teachings of the prophet Muhammad as "evil and inhuman." At least seven weekend attacks on churches in Palestinian areas were blamed on backlash to the speech.
Fredrik Reinfeldt, the leader of the four-party, center-right bloc that won Sweden's national election Sunday, said the outcome marks the beginning of a "new Sweden." Rather than rejecting the country's welfare traditions, however, Reinfeldt said the new coalition government will fine-tune the Swedish model by trimming the welfare state and cutting taxes. The coalition won 48.1 percent of the vote against 46.2 percent for Prime Minister Goran Persson and his fellow Social Democrats, who've long dominated Swedish politics.
Ten Nigerian generals, en route to a military retreat, were among 12 people killed in a plane crash, an Air Force spokesman said Monday. President Olusegun Obasanjo called the crash a "monumental national tragedy" and ordered three days of national mourning.
The Sri Lankan Army Monday blamed Tamil Tiger rebels for the hacking deaths of 10 Muslim laborers in the tsunami-battered eastern district, which has so far escaped the worst fighting since a 2002 cease-fire. The rebels, meanwhile, blamed the military for this latest atrocity, which occurred just days after the government and rebels agreed to talks to halt the violence. One worker survived the attack.
The Taliban claimed responsibility Monday for a bike-riding suicide bomber in Kandahar, Afghanistan, who killed four Canadian NATO soldiers who were handing out items to children. The blast occurred the day after NATO declared the area free of Taliban insurgents.
At a soccer field in Dhaka, Bangladesh's capital, about 50,000 opposition activists rallied Sunday, demanding reforms ahead of January's general elections. About 12,000 security personnel stood guard, but no violence was reported as has often occurred during recent demonstrations at which opposition supporters and security officials have clashed. An alliance of 14 opposition parties are attempting to force the resignation of four election commissioners they accuse of bias toward the ruling coalition.
Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf escaped injury Monday during an assassination attempt in Baidoa, the provincial capital, that killed five people. A car bomb exploded as a presidential convoy passed by parliament on the way to Yusuf's residence.
China, which has been slow to assume an active role in international peacekeeping, pledged Monday to increase the troops it is contributing to the UN force in Lebanon to 1,000, a huge increase over the 182 that China sent at the start of the year.
Spain and Britain reached a historic deal Monday to resolve disagreements stemming from their 300-year-old dispute over Gibraltar. The accord addresses airline access and phone lines but leaves the difficult issue of the British colony's sovereignty untouched. Still, it was the first time all three parties, including Gibraltar, had reached an agreement regarding the Rock.