An emotional Pervez Musharraf was sworn in Thursday as civilian president of Pakistan. He thus began a new five-year term in which analysts said he must confront huge challenges: the resentment of his political enemies and pressure from Western governments to crack down harder on Islamist militancy. Musharraf (above, pausing in his inaugural address) didn't say when he'd lift the emergency rule he imposed Nov. 3. But he welcomed the return from exile of ex-prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif and said he hoped they'd "move forward toward a conciliatory, civilized, democratic, and political environment in the future."
Two pounds of enriched uranium, potent enough to be used in a "dirty bomb," were seized, and three men were arrested for trying to sell the material in Slovakia and Hungary Thursday. Investigators said they believe the uranium had come from a former Soviet republic. The suspects were identified as two Hungarians and a Ukrainian, although there was no information on the prospective buyers. The situation raised new concern that the region is a potential source for terrorists of radioactive material for attacks elswhere.
Dozens of news reporters were arrested along with dissident Army officers in Manila after the latter walked out of a court hearing on charges of participating in a failed 2003 coup against Philippines President Gloria Arroyo. The dissidents then commandeered a hotel and issued a set of demands, among them that Arroyo resign and that the military turn against her. After a seven-hour standoff with loyal troops (above), they surrendered. The government said the journalists could have provided cover for them to slip away or been hurt when "bullets start to fly." No casualties were reported.
New rules aimed at making guns difficult to buy and carry were approved overwhelmingly by the European Parliament. They raise the age at which firearms may be purchased to 18; ban guns that fire blanks but can be converted to use live ammunition; and require European Union states to keep a computerized registry on suppliers, buyers, and Internet sales. The rules were fast-tracked in the wake of a student's shooting rampage three weeks ago at a high school in Finland.
Opposition leaders in Bolivia warned of new and probably violent protests on the heels of a 24-hour strike in most of the nation's nine provinces over President Evo Morales's proposed new Constitution. In contrast to last weekend's demonstrations against the reform agenda, in which five people died, the strike Wednesday generally was peaceful. But the opposition was angered by a vote in Congress to shift government funds from the prosperous provinces to retirement programs in poor areas.
A trial that prosecutors said would be "swift and fair" opened Thursday in Sudan's capital for a British teacher accused of inciting religious hatred by allowing her students to name a teddy bear for the prophet Mohammad. If convicted, Gillian Gibbons could be jailed for six months and subjected to 40 lashes. Her students have tried to claim responsibility for the act, which Britain's Foreign Service has called "an innocent misunderstanding."
Drug abuse, especially among teenagers, has dropped significantly in the past three years, a new report by Germany's narcotics monitoring commission said. It indicated that 2.7 percent of Germans admitted to using illegal drugs as often as once a month last year, down from 4 percent in 2003. Deaths from overdoses also dropped, to 1,296. Commissioner Sabine Bätzing said the decline covered marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, LSD, and ecstasy. But while drug use by teens declined, the Federal Center for Health Education said heavy consumption of alcohol among 16- and 17-year-olds rose from 40 percent to 51 percent between 2005 and 2006.