Damage because of last week's earthquake in China is estimated at $9.5 billion to businesses alone, the government said Monday as much of the nation ground to a halt for three minutes of official mourning. At least 34,000 deaths have been attributed to the quake, with more than 29,000 other people still missing. Adding to the casualty count, the government said more than 200 relief workers were buried by mudslides as they repaired roads.
Saying, "We know there are 18 snipers," Zimbabwe's political opposition accused military intelligence of plotting to assassinate presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai on his return from a month abroad. Tsvangirai, who is in Europe, delayed his trip Saturday but will arrive "very soon" to contest the June 27 runoff against incumbent Robert Mugabe, a spokesman for the Movement for Democratic Change said. Mugabe's Information Ministry said it wasn't aware of a plot and accused Tsvangirai of "playing to the international media gallery."
An effort to revive the peace process between India and Pakistan is due to begin Tuesday at the foreign minister level in the latter's capital. But analysts did not expect significant progress, in part because of last week's terrorist attack that killed 61 people in the Indian city of Jaipur and has been blamed on Islamist militants acting with Pakistani support. The talks also are the first since Pakistan shifted from military rule to a shaky civilian coalition government.
A feared woman commander of Colombia's leftist Revolutionary Army (FARC) surrendered Sunday in another apparent coup for President Alvaro Uribe. Nelly Avila Moreno had been a target of Uribe's government since 2002 because of a series of murders and kidnappings in the country's mountainous northwest. She is the third senior FARC leader to die or give herself up since March 1.
Hundreds of Army troops and police took up positions in Beriane, Algeria, late Sunday to clamp down on violence between Arabs and minority Berbers that has resulted in at least two deaths and left dozens of homes and shops in ashes. The unrest began late last week and is attributed to a combination of ethnic hatred and a high unemployment rate, especially among young men.
Another car bomb attack blamed on the Basque separatist group ETA wrecked the headquarters of a boating club in the seaside town of Gexto, Spain, Monday. Police were able to evacuate the area without injury, although the device exploded 10 minutes before a telephoned warning said it would. Many well-to-do Basques live in Gexto, and police say ETA occasionally has demanded a "revolutionary tax" from them in exchange for not being attacked. Last week, a policeman died and four others were hurt in another Basque town in a bombing blamed on ETA.
Police had to escort firefighters as they arrived to extinguish mounds of uncollected trash set ablaze by angry residents of Naples, Italy. The ongoing problem is expected to bring Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to the city Wednesday for his first cabinet meeting. Reports said US Navy specialists collected tap water and soil samples to determine whether there were health risks from the tons of refuse that have piled up since local dumps became full last December. Above, a sidewalk heaped with trash forces a resident to walk in the street.
Marine biologists searching for evidence of climate change in the southern Indian Ocean have discovered millions of tiny starfish thriving in conditions thought to be inhospitable. The month-long expedition was conducted underwater along a series of dormant volcanoes known as the Macquarie Ridge between New Zealand's South Island and Antarctica. Normally, only sponges and coral thrive in such conditions, reports said.