A two-day meeting of Arab leaders opened for the purpose of reviving a 2002 peace proposal that would extend diplomatic recognition to Israel. Saudi Arabia, the host nation, said the Jewish state must accept the plan; otherwise, "it doesn't want peace [and the conflict] goes back into the hands of the lords of war." Israel originally rejected the proposal, which would require it to trade land for the recognition, but Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last week expressed a willingness to accept it if certain features were modified.
As many as 60 Sunni residents of a volatile Iraqi city were shot to death Wednesday in retaliation by Shiite militants and police for truck-bomb explosions a day earlier in which a similar number of people were killed. A curfew was imposed on Tal Afar after the shootings, and reports said 18 people were arrested, many of them policemen. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered an investigation. Further south, in the so-called Sunni Triangle, soldiers killed the driver of a truck carrying chlorine gas bombs, but not before he exploded them. At least 15 people, some of them Americans, were injured, reports said.
Two weeks after being severely beaten by police in Zimbabwe, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was rearrested Wednesday. He'd been preparing to hold a news conference in the offices of the Movement for Democratic Change in Harare, the capital, when police raided it. Tsvangirai has threatened a boycott of national elections next year if, as expected, hard-line President Robert Mugabe seeks a new term. The raid came as government leaders from southern Africa – among them Mugabe – were to meet in Tanzania for discussions on Zimbabwe's escalating political problems.
Government troops claimed a major victory in eastern Sri Lanka, capturing a Tamil rebel base while taking no casualties of their own. A rebel spokesman confirmed that there had been fighting at the base but gave no other details. The assault came as the government again offered peace negotiations following the rebels' first aerial attack in the still-undeclared civil war.
Transit police stopped a man without a ticket in one of Paris's busiest train stations Tuesday, touching off a riot that ended only after tear gas and attack dogs were used. At least 100 youths reportedly came to the defense of the detainee. Thirteen were arrested, in the melee, which involved the smashing of windows and vending machines and looting of shops. Many participants were young men, evoking memories of earlier riots involving unemployed North African immigrants from poor suburbs.
Due in part to leftist President Hugo Chávez's heavy spending on social programs around Latin America, net earnings for the state-owned oil company of Venezuela dropped 26 percent last year, alarming industry analysts Tuesday. Most other major oil producers made record profits in that span. Analysts said more than one-third of PDVSA's revenues went to help finance social spending and the nationalization of other sectors of the economy versus only 5 percent that were invested in expansion and upkeep of its own facilities.
A tense 10-hour standoff with police ended peacefully outside Manila City Hall Wednesday when the armed hijacker of a bus surrendered and released its 34 passengers. All were pre-school children or teachers to whom the hijacker had offered a field trip. Reports said he demanded better housing and free education for those in a poor district of the Philippines capital.
An overturned tank truck caught fire in northern Nigeria Wednesday, killing 83 people as they collected leaking gasoline, the BBC reported. Twenty others were being treated for burns. According to police, the victims ignored the driver's warning to stay clear of the truck. More than 1,900 Nigerians have died in similar incidents since 1998.