Fresh from the dismissal or withdrawal of legal challenges to his reelection, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is to begin a two-day visit to Saudi Arabia Tuesday. But although he's pledged to quit as armed forces commander by month's end and serve as a civilian chief executive, exiled former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif flatly ruled out having any contact with him during the visit. The two are longtime political enemies, and Sharif was prevented from returning to Pakistan in September. The pro-Musharraf high court dismissed three of the challenges to his election and said lawyers behind two others had failed to appear, meaning that the suits were "withdrawn."
Helicopter crews were ferrying food to survivors of the cyclone that battered Bangladesh because washed-out roads made relief efforts over land slow and difficult. Authorities raised the number of human deaths to 3,113, but the Red Crescent Society, the Islamic equivalent of the Red Cross, said it could go as high as 10,000 once rescuers reached offshore islands and other remote areas. Above, a villager appeals for food in front of his wrecked home 125 miles south of Dhaka, the capital.
A massive walkout of civil servants is expected Tuesday in France, as unions try a pincer movement to discourage President Nicolas Sarkozy from pursuing his pension reform agenda any further. The civil servants would join employees of the bus and rail systems, whose union leaders won a vote to carry their strike into a seventh day. In Paris, only 1 in 5 commuter trains was operating Monday and 4 in 10 buses. The national rail authority put its losses from the strike so far at more than $100 million.
A widely watched report on Zimbabwe's economy for October was delayed amid suspicions that it would show the government failed to halt the upward spiral of consumer prices. The Central Statistics Office said Monday that data for the report were not ready and "may not be available for a while." Zimbabwe has the world's highest inflation rate, and analysts have said they expect the new report to show that it almost doubled, to 15,000 percent on an annualized basis, last month.
Armed police descended on a hospital in Cambodia's capital and arrested former Khmer Rouge President Khieu Samphan. He was to be informed of the charges against him by the international tribunal prosecuting those involved in the movement's reign of terror in the 1970s. Khieu Samphan was seen as a close confidant of Khmer Rouge chief Pol Pot, although he has maintained that he was a virtual prisoner of the regime. In a new book released last week, he argues that its ambitions were betrayed by rogue regional commanders.
Saying, "I need to take responsibility," the leader of Hong Kong's Democrat Party offered to resign after voters dealt it a heavy blow in district council elections Sunday. Even though councilors have little power, the election was seen as a test of the public appetite for political reform, with a more critical legislative election due next year. The Democrats lost almost half of their council seats, while candidates backed by the central government in Beijing won almost twice as many races as in the last district council voting in 2003.
A gold miner in southern Australia used his cellphone to summon rescuers Monday after he and 26 others were trapped by the collapse of the shaft in which they were working Monday. All were lifted to the surface unhurt through an air vent. The rescue was the second of its type in an Australian gold mine in less than a month.
A network of workshops across Australia is being credited with reviving the spirits of men battling depression and contemplating suicide, the BBC reported Monday. It said the Men's Shed Movement comprises at least 216 centers in formerly abandoned warehouses or similar buildings, giving participants a place to build furniture, toys, and other wooden or metal items as they discuss their personal problems. The workshops receive financial support from governments, churches, and service organizations.