American forces met a deadline set by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to abandon roadblocks that had isolated the volatile Sadr City section of Baghdad. Their departure was greeted with celebratory gunfire by crowds of people outside the headquarters of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. The roadblocks were erected after a US Army interpreter of Iraqi origin was kidnapped last week, perhaps by Shiite militiamen. Elsewhere Tuesday, two buses en route to Baghdad were stopped by militants north of the city and more than 40 of their occupants were reported missing. A wedding party motorcade also was targeted by a car-bomb attack in Baghdad, which killed or wounded 34 people.
An estimated 20,000 armed tribesmen led by a pro-Taliban cleric gathered in northwestern Pakistan Tuesday to denounce the airstrike of the day before on a suspected Al Qaeda training camp. A military spokesman said the raid, which killed 80 people, had been conducted on the basis of intelligence supplied by US forces. He later retracted his remarks, and a survivor of the attack claimed all the casualties were religious students. President Pervez Musharraf, however, said, "We know who they were; they were doing military training."
Islamist militiamen have advanced to within 18 miles of the only town in Somalia still held by the nation's transitional government, their spokesman claimed late Monday. He told Reuters that the advance on Baidoa was because of the presence there of Ethiopian soldiers who've been sent to support the government, rather than the government itself. The goal of the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), he said, is to "get the Ethiopians out of our country" within the week. Following that, he said, the UIC aims to capture two self-declared states – Puntland and Somaliland – and bring them "under sharia law." Meanwhile, the two sides had yet to begin a new round of peace negotiations, which were to have opened Monday. The UIC has said it will not participate until the Ethiopian troops have left Somalia or been killed.
Returning from the latest failed peace negotiations, the Sri Lankan government's chief negotiator said the main demand of Tamil separatists still could be met "if they behave like good boys." Nimal Siripala de Silva told a news conference that the A-9 highway, which bisects Tamil territory, would be reopened once the rebels "give assurances" that they will halt acts of hostility. There was no immediate Tamil response to the offer. But suspected rebels ambushed a truck carrying government soldiers earlier in the day, killing one of them. The A-9 has been closed since August, with the government maintaining that rebel shelling makes it unsafe. The two sides left peace talks Sunday in Switzerland without agreeing on the highway issue or even on whether to meet again at a later date.
Violence erupted again in Oaxaca only hours after federal police appeared to have brought the Mexican tourist city under control. Leftist protesters who'd been forced from the main square regrouped Monday, and bands of young people were roaming the streets, throwing gasoline bombs and hijacking vehicles. Other demonstrators said they'd set up a new base in another square from which to renew efforts to force the resignation of state Gov. Ulises Ruiz. Ruiz appeared to lose the support of both houses of Congress in Mexico City, which passed resolutions Monday demanding that he quit. But the resolutions are nonbinding, and the governor angrily vowed to appeal them to the Supreme Court.
Another gas explosion trapped at least 35 men deep inside a coal mine near Baiyin in northwestern China, the Xinhua news agency reported Tuesday. It said four other miners were able to escape unhurt after the blast. Coal meets almost 70 percent of China's growing energy needs, but the safety record in its mining sector remains the world's worst. Despite an official push for improvements in safety, more than 3,200 miners have been killed in explosions, fires, flooding, or collapses so far this year, Xinhua said.