Israel will intensify "operational measures" in the Gaza Strip, the government said Sunday in reaction to the latest rocket fire on border communities. Targeted airstrikes over the weekend killed three Hamas militants in a car filled with weapons and also flattened arms factories belonging to Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Reports said more than 120 homemade rockets fired from Gaza have fallen on border towns since last Wednesday, causing thousands of residents to flee to refuge out of range.
As many as 38 people were killed Sunday as Lebanese soldiers fought Islamist militants of a group that styles itself after Al Qaeda. The latter accused the Army of carrying out an unjustified attack on its base in a Palestinian refugee camp near Tripoli and vowed to "open the gates of fire ... against the whole of Lebanon." A Cabinet minister said the violence appeared timed to thwart the establishment of a UN court that would try suspects in the 2005 murder of ex-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
An uneasy calm prevailed in Hyderabad, India, Sunday in the wake of clashes between police and crowds of angry Muslims. The latter were complaining of inadequate protection after a bomb exploded in a 17th century mosque during Friday prayers, killing 11 people and arousing fears of a return to the violence between Muslims and Hindus that has troubled the city in the past. Police pledged to find the perpetrators, but five more people died when they retaliated against rock-throwers with gunfire.
Tens of thousands of people protested in the streets of Caracas Saturday over Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez's plan to shut down RCTV, a broadcaster he accuses of supporting the brief coup against him five years ago. The station's license expires next week. Chávez has said he intends to replace it with a state-owned channel that promotes socialism. Last Friday, the Supreme Court rejected RCTV's appeal to remain on the air.
Ten billion dollars, one of the largest charitable gifts in history, was pledged by Dubai's ruler for a new Middle East educational foundation. Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid al-Maktoum said the money would be used for scientific research centers, scholarships, and job-generation. He told the World Economic Forum in Jordan Friday that the Arab world will need as many as "85 million job opportunities" in the next 20 years.
Voters overwhelmingly rejected a referendum question in Romania that sought to recall President Traian Basescu. The issue was headed for defeat by a 75 percent to 25 percent margin. Parliament suspended Basescu last month over his aggressive push for political reform, alleging that he had abused his powers. Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu, the president's rival, conceded that a majority of his own Liberal Party members had voted "no" and pledged to work with him.
Inauguration ceremonies for new President Jose Ramos-Horta in East Timor were marred by new political violence that killed at least one person and injured an unspecified number of others. Many Timorese had hoped that Ramos-Horta's victory in a runoff election earlier this month would bring stability to the fledgling nation, but UN peacekeeping troops had to intervene to halt fighting between rival gangs.
The worst drought in a century appeared to be ending across much of Australia as heavy rains that began Friday were still drenching areas where water storage had dipped to 6 percent of capacity. But meteorologists cautioned that the first significant precipitation since April 2005 was not yet enough to raise levels in reservoirs and catchment basins.