An extension of Monday's deadline for a power-sharing government in Northern Ireland appeared possible after the leading Protestant party said it was willing to join with Catholics – but not until "an agreed date in May." British authorities, who'd threatened to disband the Northern Ireland Assembly Monday if no self-rule government was formed, said they were open to a delay. They also said a shutdown, if ordered, could perhaps be short-lived.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon dealt a major setback to the new Palestinian unity government Sunday, saying the time was not right for a meeting with its Hamas leaders. His decision was seen as damaging efforts by the joint Hamas-Fatah administration to win international recognition and a resumed flow of critical aid. Ban did meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah.
A two-day truce appeared in jeopardy of collapsing in Mogadishu, Somalia, Sunday, as elders of its dominant clan and Army commanders from neighboring Ethiopia reached an impasse over confiscating weapons from residents. Dozens of people were killed in fighting there last week, not counting those who died Friday when a missile strike apparently caused the crash of a giant cargo plane that had just brought supplies for African Union peacekeepers.
Fed-up members of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's own party are expected to try to dump him later this week in a meeting of its central committee, reports said. Sources told The Sunday Times (London) that forces in Mugabe's ZANU-PF will threaten to form a third party if he insists on seeking another term next year. The dissent comes in the face of international condemnation over the crackdown against Mugabe's opponents, the Movement for Democratic Change. But it also is fueled by the devastated economy and warnings of famine. The government conceded last week that two-thirds of the corn crop has been wiped out by drought.
At least 60 people died and 74 others were hurt in two days of political warfare in Congo's capital, the government said Saturday. Western sources in Kinshasa claimed the number of casualties was up to four times higher. An arrest warrant was issued for defeated presidential candidate Jean-Pierre Bemba, who was given refuge in the Embassy of South Africa. Bemba denies instigating the violence.
Young supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin held a mass rally in central Moscow Sunday, contrasting sharply with a violent crackdown the day before on marchers who tried to demonstrate against the government elsewhere. Dozens of opponents were arrested in Nizhny Novgorod, 250 miles east of Moscow, while accusing Putin of silencing dissent. News photographers saw police beating some of the protesters with truncheons. No mention was made on state-controlled TV of the incident, the third of its type since December.
Aftershocks were rattling the west coast of Honshu, Japan's largest island, Sunday, hours after a strong earthquake struck the area. At least one death and more than 170 injuries were reported as the magnitude-6.9 quake collapsed or damaged hundreds of houses, buckled roads, caused landslides, and cut off water service to the popular resort area. A tsunami warning was lifted after the tidal surge rose only six inches above normal. Two strong earthquakes also were reported off the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, apparently causing no significant injuries or damage.
Roughly 140 flights a day were expected to take off and land as aged Don Muang Airport in Bangkok, Thailand, reopened Sunday, six months after being decommissioned. The facility will service only domestic routes while design flaws at the new $4 billion Suvarnabhumi International are corrected.