Legislation deemed vital by Congress to measuring progress in Iraq was being debated by lawmakers Sunday. But prospects for passage of the bill, which would give former Baath Party supporters of Saddam Hussein access to government jobs, appeared uncertain. Legislators loyal to radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who control 30 seats in parliament, denounced it as unconstitutional and argued that it ignores the suffering of victims of Hussein's regime.
A likely contender for the presidency of Russia was among dozens of demonstrators arrested Sunday in St. Petersburg in a rally against outgoing leader Vladimir Putin. Participants (one of them above, in brown cap and coat) complained of being beaten and said the reaction by police showed that Putin's government is afraid of opposition. Presumed candidate Boris Nemtsov's Union of Right Forces Party has complained of official harassment as he and others campaign for the Dec. 2 election for a new parliament and the vote in March for a successor to Putin. Opposition activist and former chess champion Garry Kasparov was among those arrested in a similar rally Saturday in Moscow.
Calm prevailed across Lebanon for the first two days after President Emile Lahoud's term expired and the pro- and anti-Syrian political camps couldn't agree on a compromise candidate to succeed him. A final effort failed Friday when pro-Syrian Hizbullah members of parliament and their allies boycotted the voting, leaving the legislature without a quorum. Lawmakers are due to vote again at the end of this week.
Firing tear gas and water cannon, police in Malaysia's capital finally broke up an eight-hour antigovernment protest by an estimated 10,000 ethnic Indians Sunday. At least four injuries and 240 arrests were reported. Street protests are rare in Malaysia, but this was the second in less than two weeks, and analysts said the violence exposed deep divisions between the Muslim Malay majority and minorities, such as Indians, who complain of discrimination.
At least one person was killed and several others were hurt as protesters in Bolivia fought with police Friday and Saturday over the rewritten Constitution promised by President Evo Morales. The violence caused the work of the constituent assembly appointed by Morales to be moved to a military site in Sucre, the home of the judiciary and former capital. As part of Morales's effort to grant increased rights to the poor Indian majority, the protesters are demanding that all branches of government be moved to Sucre from La Paz.
Going beyond his previous criticisms, the Archbishop of Canterbury scorned what he called the "chosen-nation myth of America" in an interview with an Islamic lifestyle magazine. Dr. Rowan Williams (r.) compared the US unfavorably to the use of power by Britain during the latter's imperial era. As the world's only "global hegemonic power," he said, actions by the US in Iraq and elsewhere have produced "the worst of all worlds." Williams also criticized the Islamic world mildly, saying it must acknowledge that its "political solutions" have not been "the most impressive."
All 154 tourists and crew members from a cruise ship that sank off Antarctica were safe after being rescued and given shelter at military bases in Chile. They were pulled from lifeboats by a passing Norwegian cruise liner in frigid temperatures but a rare combination of calm seas and light winds. Their original ship, of Canadian registration, struck an iceberg Friday.
More than a year ahead of schedule, environmentally conscious Scots are on target to surpass the national target for recycling waste, a published report said. As of June, the goal – 30 percent of the waste stream – was within 0.2 percent of being met, the Scotsman newspaper reported. Local jurisdictions in Scotland can be fined heavily for failing to make significant cuts in the volume of trash sent to landfills.