President-elect Dmitri Medvedev of Russia signaled Monday that he'd make few, if any, changes to the policies of predecessor Vladimir Putin – particularly toward any neighbors seeking closer relations with the West. Within hours of his landslide victory at the polls, the Russian natural gas monopoly cut supplies to Ukraine by 25 percent. Medvedev (above, r., in celebration after the voting) said he and Putin (l.) would work in an "effective tandem," with the latter becoming prime minister.
Exploding car bombs killed at least 24 people and wounded dozens of others in two Baghdad neighborhoods Monday. Neither attack took place near Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the second day of his historic visit to the capital. Ahmadinejad hailed the two countries as world leaders in the areas of justice and morality and called on "powers that came over the seas" – a reference to the US and its Western allies – to "leave this region and hand over the affairs to the people." Above, curious Baghdad residents look at one of the cars that exploded.
Despite heavy Palestinian casualties, Hamas staged a large victory celebration Monday and fired more rockets into Israel as troops from the Jewish state withdrew from the Gaza Strip. They left behind more than 110 dead militants, roughly 350 more people who were wounded, and a trail of property damage. But Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the pullback was only temporary. The Israeli assault brought a chorus of international condemnation and the cutting off of negotiations by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Approval of a new round of sanctions against Iran for refusing to stop enriching uranium appeared certain in the UN Security Council Monday. The sanctions would freeze assets of companies and individuals with ties to Iran's nuclear program and impose certain travel and trade bans. A senior Iranian official said such measures would be "illegitimate and illegal."
"A precise strike against a known terrorist and his associates" destroyed a house in southern Somalia used by Islamic extremists, US defense officials acknowledged Monday. But residents of the town of Dobley claimed only noncombatants were struck and that eight were seriously hurt. Islamist militants appear to have regained momentum in the region after being driven out early last year by a combined force of Somali and Ethiopian troops.
Police in a southern suburb of Paris were seeking to identify and arrest an estimated 30 hooded attackers who fired shotguns or threw gasoline bombs at officers responding to a vandalism call. Four officers were wounded; one required hospitalization. The incident Sunday came less than two weeks after a police raid on northern suburbs targeting suspected organizers of rioting last November that injured dozens of officers.
Humanitarian aid officials from the UN, the Red Cross, and other agencies were rushing food, drinking water, tents, and other assistance to an estimated 10,000 Bhutanese whose refugee camp in neighboring Nepal was destroyed by fire. Seven people were hurt Saturday night when the blaze swept through the camp 310 miles southeast of Kathmandu. The refugees are among more than 100,000 ethnic Nepalese who were expelled from Bhutan in the early 1990s for political agitation.
If the central government approves, one of China's largest cities will spend $40 billion on a project that would almost double the size of its subway system, reports said Monday. To alleviate regular heavy traffic jams, Wuhan wants to put stations within 600 yards of most of its 8.7 million residents, making a trip to downtown no longer than a half-hour from anywhere in the city.