An ultimatum was issued to Islamist militants holed up in Lebanese refugee camps: Surrender or else. In a speech to the nation Thursday, Prime Minister Fuad Saniora vowed that his government would "work on uprooting terrorism and finishing it off." At least 54 people have died in this week's fighting centering on the Nahr al-Bared camp. A truce between the militants and government troops was still holding, but the militants were refusing to give up and reports said anger over the situation was mounting in other heavily armed refugee camps.
A new crisis appeared to be unfolding in Ukraine after President Viktor Yushchenko dismissed the government's top prosecutor Thursday. But the latter refused to leave his office, and police formed a human chain around it to keep him there. Pro-Russian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, the embattled president's bitter rival, cut short a trip to deal with the situation. Yushchenko has feuded with the prosecutor for years, most recently contending that it is illegal for him to hold that post at the same time he is a member of parliament.
Saying, "Global warming should be addressed by the entire world," Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that at next month's Group of Eight summit he'll call for greenhouse gas emissions to be cut in half by 2050. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol requires Japan to make a 6 percent cut by 2012 and 35 other industrialized nations 5 percent reductions below their 1990 emissions levels. But it exempts major polluters China and India. Abe said it is "indispensable" that a successor to the Kyoto deal be broadened to include developing countries.
As part of its campaign against "uncontrolled immigration," the new government of France will offer cash incentives to volunteers to return to their countries of origin, reports said Thursday. The policy will involve $8,000 payments to each family agreeing to leave, senior officials said Wednesday. About 3,000 families accepted a similar offer two years ago. The latest estimates put the number of immigrants at more than 5 million. The government also has said it plans no mass amnesty for those who are in France illegally.
A coal mine that safety inspectors had twice tried to close exploded in southern Siberia Thursday, killing at least 38 men. Seven others were injured. The accident was blamed on a buildup of methane gas and was the second of its type in the region in three months. In March, gas exploded in another mine operated by the same company, killing 110 workers. A local court ruled April 30 that the mine in the latest accident could continue operating despite the discovery of safety violations.
Gas exploded in a government-run coal mine in southwestern China Wednesday night, trapping 36 men underground, reports said. Rescuers evacuated 23, seven of whom were injured. Thirteen others died. Unlike mines involved in other recent accidents, this one was operating legally, news agencies said.
Police suspected arson as the cause of a fire that heavily damaged a large synagogue in Geneva early Thursday, the latest in a series of anti-Semitic acts in the city. It took firemen an hour to bring the blaze under control. No injuries were reported. The fire broke out on a Jewish holiday, Shavuot.
Ten privately owned TV and radio stations were ordered by Honduran President Manuel Zelaya to broadcast a heavy schedule of "conversations" and interviews with officials of his government. He said these broadcasts – two hours a day for 10 straight days – must be aired simultaneously to "counteract the misinformation" the stations have carried about his 17 months in office. Honduran law allows the government to issue such commands. Zelaya, a frequent critic of the nation's news media, has argued that they "focus on exploiting political and social problems."