Terrorist bombers killed themselves and at least 93 Shiite Muslims in Hillah, Iraq, as pilgrims walked toward a religious ceremony scheduled for Friday. More than 150 others were wounded in coordinated attacks, police said. Twenty-one more Iraqis died in bombings and shootings in Baghdad or nearby cities, and nine US soldiers were killed in roadside explosions north of the capital.
Across Asia and Europe, stock markets were rebounding strongly from a week of sell-off activity, with investors searching for new bargains. Tokyo's exchange, the largest in Asia, gained 202 points Tuesday. Gains of 2 percent or better were reported in Hong Kong, Australia, and South Korea. In Shanghai, the market was right behind, closing 1.97 percent higher. All major European markets were ahead by 0.8 percent or better at midday.
Two strong earthquakes brought new misery to Indonesia Tuesday, killing at least 82 people, injuring hundreds of others, and leveling hundreds of buildings. The casualty count was expected to rise because the quake struck in a heavily populated area of Sumatra island. Concern about aftershocks sent thousands of residents streaming from their homes. Since Christmas 2004, Indonesia has experienced a series of quakes, tsunamis, landslides, and transportation disasters.
Islamist militia remnants timed a mortar attack on Somalia's main airport Tuesday for the arrival of hundreds of African Union peacekeepers. There were no immediate reports of casualties, but the incident underscored the challenge confronting the peacekeeping mission in restoring order to a nation that has been mired in anarchy for 16 years. In another bold attack, masked gunmen fired on the main base of government troops in Mogadishu, killing at least two people, reports said.
Tensions between China and Taiwan rose still higher Tuesday in the wake of remarks by the latter's president that the island should be independent. For the second day in a row, senior officials in Beijing blasted his comments and threatened to respond with a "glorious mission of safeguarding national sovereignty." In turn, a Taiwan newspaper reported that a cruise missile capable of hitting Shanghai was tested successfully last month. Taiwan's vice president, Annette Lu, also added to the tensions, announcing her intention to seek the top office next year. Chinese officials have branded her a "lunatic" for her pro-independence views.
Buses brought Airbus employees to a protest march in Toulouse, France, Tuesday, and organizers warned of further actions if the aviation giant follows through on its announced plan to cut 10,000 jobs. Almost half of the layoffs would come in France, where the matter has become a hot political issue because of next month's presidential election. Finance Minister Thierry Breton said the government would help Airbus by buying a bigger stake in the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co., its corporate parent.
The only independent TV station in Thailand is to stop broadcasting Wednesday after its seizure by the military government. It had been owned by the family of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra before its sale last year to investors in Singapore, a move that triggered his ouster. The station failed to pay $2.9 billion in fines and fees. A court agreed to hear a petition by its employees that it be allowed to return to the air by week's end if the issue is resolved by then.
A tense calm settled over East Timor's capital Tuesday, but not until after mobs sympathetic to a rebel leader looted the homes of President Xanana Gusmao's two sisters. US, British, and New Zealand authorities issued advisories against travel in the volatile nation, with the British warning, "The security situation ... could deteriorate at short notice." The latest violence flared after a raid by peacekeeping troops on the rebel's chief's base on Sunday killed five of his followers but failed to net him.