Iranian delegates may not meet after all with American representatives at the forthcoming regional conference on Iraqi security, their government said. The talks are due to open in Baghdad on Saturday. Against that backdrop, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced that he'll reorganize his cabinet "either this week or next" to try to bring order to its fractious coalition of Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds. He did not offer hints about which ministers may be replaced. Rumors of such a reshuffle have surfaced before, only to come to nothing.
American soldiers were being blamed for the deaths or wounding of as many as 50 civilians in a confusing scene as they sped away from an ambush Sunday in eastern Afghanistan. The incident, on a busy highway near the border with Pakistan, triggered a protest by hundreds of angry people. But a US military spokesman said the casualties may have been shot by those laying the ambush. It came as a Taliban spokesman confirmed for a newspaper in Pakistan that "there is gloom in our ranks" over the arrest of "defense minister" Mullah Obaidullah Akhund and four followers in a raid early last week in the border province of Baluchistan.
Dozens – and perhaps hundreds – of demonstrators were arrested in St. Petersburg, Russia, Saturday as they marched in the most defiant protest there to date against President Vladimir Putin's alleged "destroying [of] rights and freedoms." Estimates of participation ranged from 2,000 to three times that number. Putin is from St. Petersburg, and organizers had permission only for a rally far from the city center. But the protesters marched down the main street anyway before police moved in with nightsticks to disperse them.
Angry authorities in Eritrea denied that any of their military units were behind the kidnapping of a party of British tourists in a remote area of rival Ethiopia. Thirteen others in the party are Ethiopian escorts and translators, although five of them reportedly were set free or escaped and were picked up by troops of their own government. The area is inhospitable but is popular with tourists because of an active volcano, rich salt deposits, and moonlike landscape.
A new peace treaty was signed Sunday by the president of Ivory Coast and the leader of the rebels who control the northern half of the nation. No details of the deal were available, but an informed source said it would remove "all obstacles" to a new election. But skeptics noted that previous peace deals have foundered as the two sides squabble over their implementation. President Laurent Gbagbo remains as transitional leader of the world's leading cocoa- growing nation until October under terms of a UN accord.
Americans were among the 643 young people arrested after three days of rioting in Copenhagen, Denmark, that police say have been the worst there in a decade. The violence was set off by the eviction of leftist squatters from a building that was loaned to them by the city before being sold to a religious group six years ago. The squatters have rejected calls to move to another building. The trouble appeared to be over by Saturday morning, but it flared up again by nightfall.
Under cover of darkness, international peacekeepers attacked a town held by rebels in East Timor early Sunday on orders of President Xanana Gusmao. But the effort failed to capture rebel chief Alfredo Reinado, although four of his followers were killed, reports said. With a presidential election due next month, his arrest is a high priority since he is known to be heavily armed and since a revolt he led last year resulted in at least 37 deaths and left 155,000 others homeless.
Search and rescue efforts took on new urgency on the Indonesian island of Flores for 40 people still missing after massive mudslides Saturday. At least 40 others died. Authorities said emergency teams were unable to move heavy machinery to the affected areas because of closed or collapsed roads and downed power lines. In addition, the heavy rains that triggered the slides had returned. Much of the region is deforested and no longer holds soil in downpours.