Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai appeared to be free again after being held for hours Wednesday by police in Zimbabwe. But his Movement for Democratic Change was accused of stockpiling weapons for a "terror campaign" against President Robert Mugabe's government. Mugabe was attending a regional emergency summit called to discuss Zimbabwe's turmoil. His spokesman said the solution was to remove sanctions against the struggling country by Western governments, not to punish Mugabe.
Optimism over North Korea's agreement to halt its nuclear program has yet to "translate" into donations of food for the communist nation, a senior UN aid official lamented Thursday. He ended a six-day visit to the North, saying the government acknowledged a 1 million ton shortfall and has asked the World Food Program (WFP) to increase efforts to close that gap. Two years ago, the North set new limits on the monitoring of food distribution, scaling back the WFP's activities.
A joint force of Ethiopian and Somali troops, backed by helicopters, attacked the strongholds of Islamist militant remnants and Mogadishu's dominant clan in the biggest push so far to put down a growing insurgency. Witnesses said at least 11 noncombatants died in the fighting. Two-thirds of the Ethiopian troops reportedly have pulled out of Somalia since the Islamists were defeated at the beginning of the year. Some of the remaining Ethiopians brokered a truce last weekend with Mogadishu's Hawiye clan, but it hasn't held.
A state of emergency to quell dissent in Thailand's capital is not necessary, Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont said, rejecting a demand by leaders of the coup who installed him in the post. But he said the situation would continue to be "evaluated" as supporters of his ousted predecessor, Thaksin Shinawatra, prepare for another in a series of antigovernment protests Friday. The rallies began small but have been growing in size. Surayud also said the first national election since Thaksin was toppled last summer will be held Dec. 16 or Dec. 22.
One set of negotiations – out of 35 – for Muslim-majority Turkey to join the European Union was reopened Thursday when delegates met in Brussels to discuss "enterprise and industry policy." The talks were the first since last fall, when the EU suspended them to punish Turkey for refusing to open its ports to traffic from the Greek sector of Cyprus. An EU official told the BBC that the bloc hoped to open three more sets of talks with Turkey by the end of June.
New political fireworks in Ecua-dor cost a provincial judge his job Wednesday after he tried to reinstate 57 members of Congress. An angry President Eduardo Correa blasted the jurist's effort as "illegitimate," and the Supreme Electoral Tribunal stripped him of his post. The high court ousted the legislators earlier this month for trying to block the referendum that Correa scheduled on rewriting the Constitution. Most of them have been replaced by alternates.
A controversial affirmative action program that reserves spaces in top Indian universities for low-caste students was suspended until at least August on orders of the Supreme Court. Implementation must wait until its legality can be ruled upon, the court said, citing plans to set quotas for students based on 1931 census data, the last time India's population was counted on the basis of caste. The program has angered upper-caste students, whose ranks would be cut from 78 percent to 51 percent if it is implemented.
Gas exploded in another Chinese coal mine whose operating license had expired, killing 26 men, the Xinhua news agency reported Thursday. Eighty others made it to safety. The accident was the second of its type involving heavy casualties in northern Shanxi Province in 10 days.