Tensions rose even higher in the Gaza Strip Tuesday as a gunfight erupted between guards for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah and policemen working for the Hamas-led government. The clash, one day after the murder of an Abbas aide's three young sons, left four people wounded, one of them critically. Abbas had ordered a deployment of security personnel across Gaza after the boys' deaths, and other senior members of Fatah accused Hamas of carrying out the attack. For their part, the policemen said Fatah demonstrators provoked Tuesday's incident by pelting them with rocks.
The government's defense minister was booed Tuesday as she arrived for the funeral of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, in another sign of the deep divisions that remain over his 17-year rule. President Michelle Bachelet, whose family was tortured by his regime, did not attend and denied him state honors, so the ceremony was held at a military college. She defended the decision as being "in the best interests of the people." Pinochet's remains were to be cremated and no monuments to him will be erected because of concerns that they'd be desecrated, reports said.
Almost 7,000 military personnel and police were ordered to the home state of new Mexican President Felipe Calderón in a crackdown against the narcotics trade. Michoacan has been a major transshipment point for cocaine, heroin, and other drugs en route from producers farther south to the US market. More than 500 people have died in the state this year in what authorities say is a turf war between rival drug gangs, and Calderón campaigned for office, in part, on the promise to smash them. But critics of the deployment noted that his predecessor, Vicente Fox, attempted similar crackdowns in Acapulco and the border city of Nuevo Laredo with little success.
Three new advisers were appointed to the caretaker government in Bangladesh Tuesday to replace the four who resigned. A fourth replacement was expected to be named as soon as possible. The advisers who quit said their main reason for doing so was not, as previously reported, a protest against President Iajuddin Ahmed's deployment of thousands of soldiers to control antigovernment demonstrations but, rather, their own inability to ensure that the Jan. 23 election for a new parliament will be free and fair. Despite the deployment, an opposition alliance was planning new demonstrations in Dhaka, the capital, and other cities.
Victory appeared all but certain for former rebel leader Irwandi Yusuf in his bid to become the first directly elected governor of volatile Aceh Province in Indonesia. He and his running mate were far ahead in the vote count from Monday's election, which observers said had been free and fair. Yusuf was serving a prison sentence two years ago when the Dec. 26 tsunami devastated Aceh. He escaped and later negotiated a peace deal with the national government.
Legal proceedings could begin as soon as early March against oil industry giant Royal Dutch/Shell, Russian officials said Tuesday, amid reports that the company has been forced to cede control of the $20 billion Sakhalin-2 project to the Kremlin. The liquefied natural gas project will be taken over by Gazprom, the state-owned monopoly, although the Financial Times reported that the latter has no experience in that technology. Royal Dutch/Shell is accused of causing heavy environmental damage in developing the project, the largest of its type in the world. The move follows the forced sale last year of domestic oil giant Yukos to another state-controlled company, and analysts cited both as evidence that President Vladimir Putin intends to completely renationalize Russia's energy sector.