The first additional US troops ordered to Iraq arrived in Baghdad Monday, although their commanders cautioned the public not to expect "overnight" improvement in the security situation there. As they were report- ing, however, US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said the US will "go after" networks of Iranian and Syrian agents operating in Iraq to promote instability. Five Iranians already are under arrest on suspicion of funneling arms and cash to terrorists and other militants. Meanwhile, to the cheers of Shiites in Baghdad, Iraqi authorities hanged Saddam Hussein's half-brother and another defendant convicted with him of crimes against humanity.
Al Jazeera and three other broadcasters were ordered to halt operations in Somalia as the government broadened its use of emergency powers. The TV and radio networks were told to send representatives today to the Office of National Security "to get a new license and avoid causing unrest by airing unconfirmed reports." In neighboring Kenya, authorities said they arrested a senior Islamist militant leader at a refugee camp along the border. He was not immediately identified, but the top two leaders of the ousted Islamic Courts Union have vowed that guerrilla war in Somalia will not end until Ethiopian troops who support the government leave. Late Sunday, guerrillas fired at a convoy in the capital, Mogadishu, and witnesses said two soldiers were killed.
All political activity appeared to be suspended in Bangladesh as the nation adjusted to the swearing-in of a new caretaker government and the cancellation of next week's scheduled election. A member of the interim cabinet told Agence France-Presse that the need to implement far-reaching political reforms – such as preparation of new voter rolls and organizing a new elections commission – meant that the nation would be in political limbo for as many as six months. No new date has been set for the election.
Bodyguards and the driver for a slain Chechen rebel leader were among more than 500 militants from Russia's volatile North Caucasus region who surrendered to authorities Monday as an offer of amnesty was about to expire. The program, the latest of several offered by the Kremlin, was proposed last summer to try to achieve normality in Chechnya. Under it, those who give themselves up will avoid prosecution unless they're suspected of murder, terrorism, or rape. Meanwhile, police began a crackdown on millions of illegal migrants from former Soviet republics who are a source of cheap labor for Russian businesses. Enterprises that are caught in the crackdown can be fined up to $30,000 each and suspended for 90 days.
Amid complaints that he already is showing disrespect for the views of his opponents, President Rafael Correa of Ecuador was inaugurated Monday in ceremonies attended by fellow leftist leaders Hugo Chávez of Vene-zuela and Evo Morales of Bolivia. Correa, who won a runoff election in November, has said his first official act will be to call a referendum on rewriting the Constitution to curb the parties that dominate Congress. He has called the legislature "a sewer" of corruption. He also rejects a free-trade deal with the US and has vowed not to renew its lease on a military airfield that is used for narcotics surveillance flights.
A new interim constitution was approved Monday by Nepal's parliament, the last major hurdle in a process that allows communist rebels to join the legislature for the first time. Later, the lawmakers voted to disband in favor of a 330-seat temporary parliament in which the rebels will be the No. 2 bloc. Today, under terms of a cease-fire announced last year, the rebels are to begin surrendering their weapons under UN supervision. They will, however, be allowed to keep the keys to the storage facilities. As many as 13,000 people died in their 10-year war for a communist state.