Generals and colonels were among 1,300 soldiers and police stripped of their duties by Iraq's government Sunday for refusing to fight Shiite militants in Basra and other cities. The offensive last month was ordered by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and was the largest to date against the Mahdi militia of radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. It was carried out almost entirely by Iraqi forces with little help from US or British infantry units.
Weeks of deadlock ended Sunday over the power-sharing government in Kenya as President Mwai Kibaki announced his "grand coalition" cabinet with opposition leader Raila Odinga at its head. The assistant leader of Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement was named as deputy prime minister. In the ethnic violence that followed the nation's Dec. 27 presidential election, more than 1,200 people died and hundreds of thousands of others fled their homes.
Authorities in Iran appeared unwilling to label a powerful explosion that ripped through a mosque Saturday night as an act of terrorism. Eleven people were killed and 191 others were hurt, some of them critically, in the blast in the southern city of Shiraz. There were no early claims of responsibility, and provincial police said investigators had found traces of ammunition left over from "a defense fair" that recently was held in the mosque.
To the surprise of political analysts, results from last week's election in Nepal showed the Maoist Party headed for a majority of perhaps landslide proportions in the Constituent Assembly that is to rewrite the Constitution. Participating in their first election in Nepali history, the Maoists already had won 61 of the first 108 races to be decided and were ahead in many others – even in areas where they were thought to be weak. Above, joyous supporters of the Maoists ride through Kathmandu, the capital, on motorbikes.
Mediators were trying to salvage a final peace agreement between the government of Uganda and rebel forces after the latter's leader failed to appear at treaty-signing ceremonies. Joseph Kony of the Lord's Resistance Army first demanded clarification of sections of the agreement, then fired the leader of his negotiating team. A spokesman for Kony said he remains willing to sign but wants guarantees of his safety and financial security first. A truce between the two sides that was to extend through the signing period expires Tuesday.
A UN peacekeeper was killed, execution-style, in Haiti's capital Saturday as public anger deepened over the rising cost of food. The shootings came despite an attempt by President René Préval to quell days of rioting by cutting the price of rice $8 per 50-pound bag. In a related move, members of the Senate voted to oust Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis for his failure to increase food production or set a timetable for the UN peacekeepers to leave. Above, Haitians demonstrate outside parliament as the vote is taken.
Rescuers searched for two missing men Sunday after a buildup of gas exploded in a coal mine in northeastern China. The blast killed at least 14 miners and injured two others. The mine was licensed but may have been pushing production beyond safe limits due to China's massive demand for energy, reports said. Operators of other mines in the area were asked to suspend operations for "rectifying measures."
A rock star from Mozambique whose music is aimed at raising awareness of sanitation issues in rural areas is to be among the recipients Monday of the 19th annual Goldman Environmental Prizes in San Francisco. Feliciano dos Santos also established a nongovernmental organization to promote personal hygiene. The awards, named for philanthropist Richard Goldman and his late wife, Rhoda, are considered the Nobel Prizes of grass-roots environmentalism. Each includes a $150,000 stipend.