Another leading anti-Syrian politician was assassinated in Lebanon, plunging the small but strategically located nation into deeper crisis. Pierre Gemayel, the government's industry minister, was the fifth such figure to be murdered in the past two years. His death came as Prime Minister Fuad Siniora defended his government as legitimate despite last week's resignations of six pro-Syrian cabinet members. Lebanon also is bracing for mass demonstrations by Hizbullah supporters that are aimed at toppling Siniora unless he adds enough pro-Syrian members to his cabinet to give them veto power over government policy.
A new offensive by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip killed a senior Hamas operative and two other members of the militant organization Tuesday. But the operation, carried on Palestinian TV for the first time, failed to halt the launch of rockets at the Israeli town of Sderot. One of them exploded a few hundred yards from a car in which UN human rights commissioner Louise Arbor was touring. She was unhurt, but a nearby man was critically wounded. Hamas advised that Sderot be "emptied of its residents" because the rocket attacks would continue until "[Israeli] aggression" stops.
The first visit by a Chinese president to India in 10 years produced agreement that there's room for both nations to become global powers. Hu Jintao and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also agreed to double bilateral trade to $40 billion over the next four years. But they made no breakthroughs on the major issues dividing their nations: a longstanding dispute over their common border, the refuge that India gives to the Dalai Lama and 120,000 other Tibetan refugees, and the supply of weapons by China to India's nuclear rival, Pakistan.
Still in their robes, the justices of Congo's Supreme Court fled for their safety Tuesday as violence erupted in the streets outside. Sections of the building were burning and supporters of defeated presidential candidate Jean-Pierre Bemba also fired at police. The court has until Sunday to rule on Bemba's challenge of the Oct. 29 election results, which show him losing to incumbent Joseph Kabila by a 16-point margin. He claims there was "systematic cheating."
Despite threats to keep him from taking office, Mexico's president-elect appointed mostly business-friendly administrators to his cabinet Monday. Felipe Calderón is scheduled to be inaugurated Dec. 1. He won election in July by a razor-thin margin over leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador and has since tried to reach out to the latter's supporters. But an estimated 100,000 of them packed downtown Mexico City to watch Lopez Obrador swear himself in as the "legitimate" president.
Two more protesters were killed Tuesday and dozens of others were hurt in Bangladesh in Day 2 of a resumed nationwide anti-government strike. The violence came in spite of assurances by the caretaker administration that a solution to the impasse over electoral reforms was near. Reports said the object of the protesters' anger, chief elections commissioner M.A. Aziz, will announce Wednesday whether he'll resign or go on leave until after Bangladeshis vote on a new government in January.
A "unity" government may be necessary after Wednesday's national election in the Netherlands, analysts said, as late opinion polls showed the race between the ruling Christian Democrats and the opposition Labor Party was too close to call. In most cases, Labor has supported the increasingly tough immigration policy of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, but the parties have split over a prospective ban on women wearing head-to-toe Islamic garb in public. The nation has about 1 million Muslim immigrants, many of whom have been slow to adapt to Dutch culture. The election is the first since the 2004 murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh by an Islamic radical.
Fifteen people died and the largest open-air market in Central America was destroyed Monday when wind blew a burning cigarette butt into a Guatemala City fireworks stall. Most of the dead were vendors who tried to protect their wares rather than escape the resulting flames. Fireworks sales soar at this time of year as customers stock up for Christmas and New Year's celebrations.