Across the former Yugoslavia, ethnic Serbs vented their anger again Thursday at the declaration of independence by Kosovo. In the Serb capital, Belgrade, analysts said they worried that the protests could escalate into a silencing of opposition and pro-Western political forces, as seen in the Slobodan Milosevic era. Above, police at a Serbia-Kosovo border crossing confront angry protesters.
Kenya's government said it has agreed in principle to a power-sharing solution to the ongoing political crisis that would result in creation of a prime ministership. But negotiators for President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga were still discussing how the post would be filled and what its responsibilities would be. Odinga is considered virtually certain to fill the role, although he has accused Kibaki of reneging on a pledge to give it to him in exchange for his support in the presidential election of 2002.
A declaration by Moqtada al-Sadr to be read at Friday prayers is expected to extend the cease-fire between his militant followers and US and Iraqi forces, sources close to the radical Shiite cleric said. They said the extension likely would be for another six months.
Despite the bitter cold, an estimated 25,000 protesters gathered in a public square in Armenia's capital for a second straight day, calling on authorities to annul the presidential election and schedule a new one. The supporters of defeated candidate Levon Ter-Petrosian claimed their poll-watchers had been the target of violence and vowed to protest "nonstop ... until we win." Elections officials said Ter-Petrosian won 21.5 percent of the vote, compared with just under 53 percent for Prime Minister Serge Sarkisian.
Apologizing for its previous denials, the British government said US intelligence agents had used its territory to transport terrorist suspects following the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington. CIA Director Michael Hayden also acknowledged that on two occasions planes carrying suspects had landed on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia for refueling. "It lasted just a short time, but it happened," Hayden said. British Defense Secretary David Miliband said he was "very sorry, indeed" to have to correct the earlier denials.
Another member of the US armed forces was being investigated for an alleged sexual assault on Okinawa, a week after a marine was arrested on rape charges and less than a day after 45,000 military personnel, their dependants, and civilian support staff were restricted to base. The soldier is accused of attacking a Filipina at a hotel. An Army spokesman would not discuss details of the latest incident but pledged full cooperation with local authorities.
Severely wounded President Jose Ramos-Horta of East Timor met with members of his family Thursday for the first time since his attempted assassination, and witnesses said he sought "reassurance that everyone is well" in the fledgling nation. Horta may be kept in intensive care in a Darwin, Australia, hospital for "several weeks," doctors said. But they expected him "to make a full recovery."
Seismologists played down the potential for damage from aftershocks after the strongest earthquake in Norwegian history struck early Thursday. The magnitude-6.2 quake was centered at sea off the sparsely populated Svalbard islands. There were no reports of casualties. One of the islands is the home of a new international seed vault.
Despite the recommendations in a commissioned report on the impact of climate change, Australia won't seek to cut carbon emissions by more than 60 percent over the next four decades, a senior government official said Thursday. The report is being prepared at the request of new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd by a noted economist. Environmental groups have welcomed Prof. Ross Garnaut's findings, but the 60 percent goal will not be "extended," the Climate Change Ministry said.