With the pouring of a last ceremonial bucket of concrete Sunday, India completed construction of the massive and controversial $7.7 billion Sardar Sarovar dam in Gujarat State. The project, begun in 1987, is designed as the centerpiece of a series of dams, reservoirs, and canals that will utilize the Narmada, India's fifth-largest river, to irrigate crops, provide power and drinking water, and control floods. Critics, however, claim that it will displace as many as 320,000 people, most of them poor tribal farmers.
In support of neighboring Somalia's interim government, Ethiopian ground forces and fighter jets continued efforts to root out the militant Islamic movement from the country over the weekend. By Sunday, thousands of Somalis were fleeing the southern Somali town of Jalib, where an estimated 3,000 hard-core fighters are wedged. The country's prime minister called for dialogue, and Kenyan diplomats were trying to secure a peaceful end to the two-week conflict. Meanwhile, Ayman al-Zawahri, the deputy leader of Al Qaeda, called on Muslims everywhere to continue the fight "against infidels."
According to the armed wing of the governing Hamas Islamist group, a "breakthrough" has occurred that could lead to the release of Corp. Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured by Palestinian militants more than six months ago. Negotiations reportedly turned a corner as the result of a change in Israel's position, but Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office declined to comment. Armed factions holding Shalit, who was abducted in Gaza, have demanded that Israel free more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners. The release of at least some prisoners appears to be a possibility.
A fleet of Indonesian navy ships, fishing vessels, and aircraft rescued 180 people from a sunken ferry in the Java Sea by Sunday, authorities said, but the search continued for 400 who were still missing. They were on board the Senopati Nusantara car ferry when it capsized in high seas around midnight Friday about 190 miles northeast of Jakarta. Ferries are a main source of transportation in Indonesia, a vast archipelago.
Britain closed its two oldest nuclear power stations on Sunday after 40 years of service. By 2023, all but one of the country's nuclear plants, responsible for 20 percent of Britain's electricity, will be shut down, replaced by a new generation of privately built nuclear power stations. The plan has angered environmentalists interested in greater emphasis on renewable power sources such as sun, wind, and waves.
A demonstration in downtown Madrid led by Spain's Victims of Terrorism Association demanded Sunday that the government not negotiate with the Basque separatist guerrilla group ETA. The protest occurred as rescue workers searched for two men trapped in the rubble from a bombing of a five-story parking structure at Madrid's airport on Saturday. Although ETA did not immediately claim responsibility for the blast, if it proves to be involved, as an early clue suggests, the terrorist act could shatter a nine-month-old cease-fire with the government.
Amicus, Britain's largest private-sector labor union, said Sunday that it plans on joining forces with counterpart groups in the US and Germany to create an alliance capable of dealing with multinational businesses. Amicus said it had signed an agreement with Germany's engineering union IG-Metall and the United Steelworkers and the International Association of Machinists (both of the US) to form an organization of 6 million members.
A chunk of ice larger than Manhattan that broke from Canada's Arctic region could wreak havoc if it floats westward toward oil-drilling regions and shipping lanes, a researcher at the University of Ottawa said over the weekend. The break, which may have been caused by global warming, occurred in 2005 but was only recently detected by satellite photos.