Diplomats from permanent members of the UN Security Council and the European Union failed Wednesday at a meeting in China to agree on new incentives to lure Iran back to negotiations on its nuclear program. The Islamic republic repeatedly has rejected such sweeteners, although President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a speech Wednesday that his government was open to returning to the negotiating table "in a logical and just framework."
Tibetan exiles and their sympathizers were converging on India's capital to hold their own torch-carrying ceremony as a protest against Chinese rule over their homeland. The Olympic torch is due in New Delhi Thursday amid a massive security presence, and analysts said India is "desperate" to prevent the types of disruptions that have marred the relay through other cities because it has forged its closest ties with China in almost half a century. Above, police lead a Tibetan protester off to a New Delhi jail.
Zimbabwe's capital was quiet Wednesday after a general strike organized by the political opposition fizzled out. Riot police scaled back their presence, and traffic flowed unhindered by the roadblocks that had been set up the day before. Police said they'd arrested 30 supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change, but the latter put the number at more than 50. Zimbabwe was expected to be on the agenda Wednesday in New York at a meeting of UN Security Council members and leaders of the African Union.
An emergency meeting of Georgia's cabinet was called Wednesday after Russia said it would begin full cooperation with the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The Kremlin stopped short of extending diplomatic recognition, however. Russia and Georgia have feuded for years, mainly over the latter's application to join NATO. Last week, Abkhazia and South Ossetia rejected an offer to share power with Georgia's government, saying they'd accept only full independence.
Legislators in Venezuela voted to raise the tax on the profits of foreign oil companies by 50 percent, a move that President Hugo Chávez's government projects could result in new revenues of $9 billion a year. The tax will apply once the average monthly price of a barrel of crude exceeds $100. Industry analysts said it likely would keep foreign oil companies, which already have been nationalized by Chávez, from investing further in Venezuela.
A senior commander of Nepal's former communist rebel movement said the first meeting of the newly elected Constituent Assembly will declare the nation a republic and notify King Gyanendra "to leave the palace." The beleaguered monarch, he warned, should "go gracefully" since "as an ordinary citizen, he will have to abide by the law." Of election results made public so far, the former rebels have won 116 of the 216 seats in the assembly and appear on course for an absolute majority.
UN peacekeepers and members of the crew of a chartered jetliner were being praised Wednesday for evacuating most of its 79 passengers before it exploded in flames at Goma, Congo. The accident killed at least 40 people and injured 113 others. The plane failed to gain altitude on takeoff and rammed a nearby marketplace. Above, other volunteers watch as a local man wets down smoldering debris with a garden hose.
Forty-four students and three adults died Wednesday when the bus in which they were riding plowed through a guardrail in western India and fell into a canal below. Four other children were rescued and searchers were looking for nine more, reports said. The students were en route to take a regional examination at the time of the accident.