Israel was expected to allow 86 truckloads of humanitarian aid – in the form of food, medicine, and other needs – into the Gaza Strip Tuesday even though its defense forces foiled an apparent terrorist attack on a border terminal hours earlier. Three armed Hamas militants were killed as they approached the Eretz crossing. Hamas said it would agree to a new cease-fire that would apply only to Gaza, dropping a demand that it also include the West Bank. But it vowed to seek eventual inclusion of the latter, also.
In its first break with President Pervez Musharraf's use of force against Islamist militants, the new government of Pakistan freed the leader of a pro-Taliban group that fought the invaders of neighboring Afghanistan in late 2001. Maulana Sufi Muhammad had been in jail for six years. The new government has said it will negotiate with any militants who are "prepared for reconciliation." Muhammad's Movement for the Enforcement of Islamic Law has renounced violence, although it will be allowed to campaign peacefully for the sharia legal code.
Oil industry giant Royal Dutch/Shell said it may fall well short of its target for deliveries through the end of next month because of sabotage against three pipelines in Nigeria. Attacks in recent days by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) helped to push the price for a barrel of crude to a new record high, $118.05, on the New York Mercantile Exchange Tuesday. MEND warned of further attacks and asked ex-US President Carter to mediate in its bid to win the release of one of its leaders who is awaiting trial for treason.
Too few members of parliament gathered Tuesday for a critical vote to elect Lebanon's new president, the 18th time the effort has ended in failure. But in a departure from past practice, Speaker Nabih Berri did not reschedule the vote, urging the anti- and pro-Syrian factions instead to engage in dialogue on a formula for sharing power. The two sides have agreed on a consensus candidate for president, Army Gen. Michel Suleiman, but pro-Syrian politicians are blamed for holding up the vote. Lebanon has been without a head of state since last November. Above, Berri discusses the situation at an impromptu news conference.
At least one person was shot to death, 15 others were wounded, and five more were arrested in China's Yunnan Province as villagers fought with police in the latest reported dispute over land use. A human rights group said the trouble arose when a large mining company offered too little compensation for land that the villagers considered theirs and then began excavating it.
In the first of an expected series of shake-ups of Cuba's cabinet, new leader Raúl Castro has replaced his education minister, reports said. Castro, who formally assumed the leadership from his brother, Fidel, Feb. 24, has hinted that he intends to eliminate agencies whose duties overlap.
Cleanup began Tuesday morning of the damage caused by rioting hockey fans in Montreal after their team eliminated the Boston Bruins from the Stanley Cup playoffs. Only minor injuries were reported in the rampage, but 16 people were arrested for pelting police with rocks, setting fire to cars, and looting and vandalizing stores. Montreal last won the National Hockey League championship in 1993, an occasion that also resulted in rioting.
Stage 1 of a project that could result in an early-warning system for earthquakes in east Asia has been completed, the BBC reported. It said scientists have bored 0.9 miles into the Nankai Trough in the Pacific Ocean off southeastern Japan, producing three-dimensional images of the stresses to which the seafloor is subjected by shifting tectonic plates. Mapping the stresses could help in placement of undersea sensors to help in forecasting quakes and tsunamis, the scientists said. Two of the world's most powerful quakes since 1944 originated in the trough.