Iran's Revolutionary Guard scorned the video and audio of last Sunday's confrontation with US warships in the Strait of Hormuz as "a clumsy fake." But in a more measured response, the Defense Ministry said the incident was "something normal that takes place every now and then, for each party." In his first public reaction, President Bush said, "it was a provocative act ... and they should not have done it."
If the US is to build part of its proposed missile-defense shield in Poland, it will have to commit to "increasing the security level of our country," Prime Minister Donald Tusk said. Tusk, who won election last October, said he'd drive a harder bargain in negotiations over the system than did his conservative predecessor. "With all due respect," he said, "I feel responsibility for the security of Poles ... and not for the US."
Refugees streamed out of western Kenya Wednesday despite the start of mediation efforts over last month's presidential election. African Union chief John Kufuor met with opposition candidate Ralia Odinga, who claims he was cheated out of victory in the vote and refuses to recognize the legitimacy of incumbent Mwai Kibaki. But Odinga scorned Kibaki's announcement of cabinet ministers, and his supporters in the west clashed with police. Above, residents of a slum in the capital, Nairobi, remove a car destroyed in earlier violence.
Dissident provincial governors in Bolivia reached agreement with leftist President Evo Morales Tuesday to draw up a national unity declaration in hopes of keeping the country from splitting apart. The two sides said they wanted to settle their differences over Morales's reform agenda, in particular the new draft Constitution and sharing revenue from natural gas exports. The dispute led to violent protests late last year and a declaration of autonomy by the dissidents.
Over the protests of hundreds of opposition supporters in the streets outside, Georgia's Central Election Commission Wednesday proclaimed incumbent Mikhail Saakashvili the winner of last weekend's presidential vote. Protest organizers vowed an even larger demonstration in Tbilisi, the capital, on Sunday, raising concerns that it could bring a new confrontation with security forces. Saakashvili's challenger, Levan Gachechiladze, seeks a runoff.
Hundreds of police reinforcements arrived in Tijuana, Mexico, Tuesday as President Felipe Calderón's government sought to stop a new surge in organized crime violence in its tracks. In all, as many as 2,000 reinforcements will be sent to the border city, officials said, in the wake of the abduction and murders of three officers over the New Year's holiday and the attempted assassination of a chief. In Rio Bravo, east of Tijuana, 10 suspects – some of them US citizens – were under arrest (above) after a shootout between drug cartel members and federal agents that killed three more police.
Leaders of the former communist rebel movement in Nepal reacted angrily to reports that Prime Minister G.P. Koirala will refuse to integrate their followers into the Army. Under a deal that brought the communists into government, 31,000 fighters are in holding camps, awaiting integration. Koirala reportedly said he opposes that process because the guerrillas are "politicized." He suggested they be employed in security forces for businesses instead.
In an about-face, zoo officials in Nuremberg, Germany, separated a polar bear cub from its mother and said they'll rear it themselves. The mother has acted strangely in recent days, apparently in reaction to the aggressive actions of a photographer trying to take pictures of her with the infant. Meanwhile, another female has shown signs of rejecting her cubs, and officials originally planned to leave them to die rather than bottle-feeding them. The situation has drawn comparisons to the case of Knut, a cub reared by humans at the Berlin Zoo last year.