With security conditions in Baghdad improving, Iraq's parliament will move to quarters outside the heavily guarded Green Zone Sept. 1, a senior member announced Tuesday. Since its election, the legislature has met in a heavily guarded former convention center inside the zone. Ultimately, the new quarters will be large enough for all 275 members and their staffs, Deputy Speaker Khalid al-Attiyah said.
Major banks in western Europe were refusing to comment on a published report that Iran's government has withdrawn $75 billion in deposits to prevent them from being blocked in the event of new UN sanctions over its nuclear program. The report appeared in an Iranian newspaper, which quoted an official in charge of economic affairs. Iran has yet to respond to the latest offer of incentives to halt its nuclear work. But the Foreign Ministry repeated its insistence Tuesday that suspending the enrichment of uranium is a "red line" that cannot be crossed.
Israel and Hamas have reached agreement on a new truce, to begin Thursday, the militant organization said. The same report was carried by Egypt's MENA news agency, although Israel's government said only that "a new reality" would take hold if attacks by Palestinian militants stopped. Egyptian diplomats have been trying to broker a cease-fire, although militants were vowing revenge for an Israeli airstrike Tuesday that killed six gunmen in the Gaza Strip.
Calling France "an independent ally – a free partner," President Nicolas Sarkozy said in a televised address Tuesday that it should increase its participation in NATO. But as part of a 15-year plan for the military, he reserved the right to choose whether to send troops to any operation being conducted by the alliance and said no French soldiers would remain under NATO command in peacetime. France abandoned NATO's command structure in 1966.
Nonessential US Embassy staffers were ordered out of Chad as antigovernment rebels claimed they've seized a third town in their advance on the capital, N'Djamena. President Idriss Déby accused Sudan of sending troops to help the rebels, which could not be confirmed independently. He also alleged that the European Union protection force in Chad has "cooperated with the invaders ... and closed its eyes before the systematic massacre of civilians and refugees."
Blaring horns and banging pots and pans, thousands of people thronged the streets of Buenos Aires Monday night to protest the Argentine government's handling of a dispute with farmers over a tax increase on exports. Similar scenes took place in smaller cities as demonstrators demanded that President Cristina Fernandez resume negotiations with the farmers to find a solution to the three-month-old dispute. Pro-government groups plan to hold counterdemonstrations Wednesday.
Amid growing concern over violent crime in Japan, the Justice Ministry executed three convicted murderers Tuesday – one of them a serial killer. Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda rejected a protest by Amnesty International, saying there was no need to abandon capital punishment. The executions came 10 days after a man in Tokyo knifed 17 people, killing seven of them. Since then, police have arrested two adults and two teenagers, each in a different city, for threatening copycat attacks.
President Felipe Calderón of Mexico signed off Tuesday on a constitutional amendment to allow public, US-style trials and the presumption of innocence for defendants. Until now, trials have been held behind closed doors, with judges relying on written, rather than oral, evidence.
Only two of an estimated 150 people appear to have survived the sinking of a fishing boat carrying them from Libya to hoped-for employment in Italy, reports said Tuesday. Egypt's ambassador to Libya said he learned of the incident when he visited a countryman who'd been aboard the vessel but later was taken to jail. The boat, carrying other Egyptians, Moroccans, Bangladeshis, and Somalis, reportedly sank in the Mediterranean Sea June 7.