As jubilant well-wishers gathered outside, Protestant leader Ian Paisley and Irish Republican Army veteran Martin McGuinness accepted the top posts in Northern Ireland's new power-sharing government Tuesday. Paisley, who for decades had refused to cooperate with Catholics, said, "How good it will be to be a part of a wonderful healing in this province." McGuinness wished Paisley "the best as we step forward into the greatest and most exciting challenge of our lives."

Embattled Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert survived three motions of no-confidence in parliament, despite growing pressure to resign over his handling of last summer's war with Hizbullah. His office announced that he'll resume meetings with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas "very soon" and with King Abdullah of Jordan next Tuesday.

Ninety thousand Pakistani troops now are deployed along the border with Afghanistan to make crossings by Taliban and Al Qaeda militants more difficult, Foreign Minister Khursheed Kasuri said Tuesday. He challenged Afghanistan's government to make the same commitment to closing the porous boundary. But he also complained to visiting NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoof Scheffer that Pakistan's troops had taken three times as many casualties in clashes with militants along the border as have NATO's forces in Afghanistan.

Three more Buddhists were shot to death Monday night in southern Thailand, despite the government's agreement to the demands by hundreds of Muslims who'd staged a four-day protest for the release of 24 men being held for questioning on suspicion of aiding the separatist insurgency. The Bangkok Post said the authorities "were so intimidated" at the size of the protest that their response came via leaflets dropped from helicopters.

Responsibility for the bombing of three major pipelines in Nigeria was claimed Tuesday by a militant group best known for kidnapping foreign oil company employees. The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta said it would stage more such attacks as a "parting gift" to outgoing President Olusegun Obasanjo. Oil giants Royal Dutch/Shell and Italy's ENI said they couldn't confirm that their pipelines in Bayelsa State had been hit, but a private security guard told reporters he saw a large and spreading oil slick.

Security precautions for Wednesday's presidential runoff election in East Timor were pronounced "satisfactory" by the UN mission chief there, and both candidates pledged to accept the outcome and work with the winner. As many as 5,000 police and international peacekeepers will guard polling places as voters decide between onetime Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos-Horta and ruling Fretilin Party candidate Francisco Guterres.

A powerful bomb exploded in a public market in the southern Philippines Tuesday, killing at least five people and wounding 35 others, most of them seriously. Police couldn't be sure whether the blast was an attack by Islamist militants operating in the area or was election-related since voters are due at the polls Monday to decide thousands of national and local races. But intelligence sources had warned of terrorist attacks in the area on central Mindanao Island.

A fierce ultranationalist and critic of the West was elected speaker of parliament in Serbia, deepening worries of a shift in government back to the isolationist policies of the late President Slobodan Milosevic. Tomislav Nikolic, a Milosevic ally, becomes the third most powerful figure in government at a time when it is wrestling with the issue of reopening negotiations to join the European Union.

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