"Anytime" American forces are ready to withdraw from Iraq, his government's military and police will be ready to take over security, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told a news conference over the weekend. He also shrugged off criticism of his government's lack of progress by members of Congress in the US, saying it was "natural" that reforms would be difficult to enact "in the shadow of huge challenges."
Israel agreed Sunday to stop hunting down 180 wanted Fatah militants in exchange for their signed pledge to end attacks against the Jewish state. The trade was announced on the eve of the next face-to-face meeting between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Tribal militants in the border region of northwestern Pakistan unilaterally ended their 10-month-old peace deal with the government, and at least 54 people were killed over the weekend in attacks on soldiers and police. Another 90 soldiers or police recruits were hurt in what authorities said could be a backlash against the commando assault on radical students of Islam in the Lal Masjid mosque last week. Above, a patrol rides through the border region.
Citing "extraordinary circumstances," Russian President Vladimir Putin suspended participation inthe 17-year-oldConventional Forces in Europe Treaty, complaining that his side was abiding by its terms but that the other signatories were not. The pact calls for limiting the number of heavy weapons deployed between Russia's Ural mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. The suspension is seen as the Kremlin's latest reaction to US plans for a missile-defense system, parts of which would be built in Poland and the Czech Republic.
Despite a death threat against all participants, the much-delayed conference on political reconciliation in Somalia finally opened Sunday. But it quickly adjourned until later this week after only half of the expected 1,000 delegates showed up. The conference was postponed several times because of violence in the capital, Mogadishu. The threat of retaliation came from militants who seek to turn Somalia into an Islamic theocracy. They held much of the country until last December.
A final resolution of the case of foreign medical personnel in the Libya AIDS ordeal was hanging in the balance as the nation's highest judicial authority prepared to meet Monday. But there were reports of a possible way out of their death sentences for allegedly infecting hundreds of children with the virus that's believed to cause the disease. An advocacy group for the victims said it had learned that Bulgaria and other eastern European governments would forgive Libya's debts to them in exchange for the release of the six – five of whom are Bulgarian nurses. The sixth is a Palestinian doctor.
"Only terrorists have reason to [feel] threatened," a senior Philippines defense official said as a tough new law went into effect Sunday that permits suspects to be wiretapped, held without charge for at least three days, and imprisoned for 40 years without parole if convicted. Their assets also can be seized, and any corrections personnel who allow them to escape can themselves be jailed for up to 20 years. Critics complain that the law will stifle legitimate political dissent. Below, leftist activists demonstrate their anger outside the presidential palace in Manila.
Typhoon Man-Yi spared Tokyo Sunday but was bearing down on northeastern Japan with winds of more than 75 m.p.h. and heavy rains. The strongest typhoon on record in July was blamed for at least five deaths, 80 injuries, and the evacuations of more than 40,000 people. It also forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights as well as bullet train service.