Opposition presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai of Zimbabwe announced he will not compete in the runoff election scheduled for Friday against incumbent Robert Mugabe. Tsvangirai said the climate of political violence made a free and fair vote impossible, adding, "We cannot ask [our supporters] to cast their votes when that could cost them their lives." Thousands of militants supporting Mugabe prevented Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change from holding its final campaign rally Sunday in Harare, the capital.

There will be an "unlimited destructive response" if Israel tries to attack Iran's nuclear facilities, state TV quoted Defense Minister Mostafa Mohamad Najjar as saying Sunday. Iranian officials have reacted angrily to a published report late last week that Israeli warplanes conducted a long-distance exercise over the eastern Mediterranean, apparently in rehearsal for a possible bombing attack against those facilities.

Hope was fading for the survival of more than 700 passengers aboard a ferry that capsized Saturday afternoon in typhoon Fengshen off the central Philippines. Reports said only four had reached shore, and rescue ships found the vessel upside down. On land, at least 155 other people died and 72 more were listed as missing after the powerful storm submerged entire communities. Above, a bus slogs through a flooded street in Manila.

Protesters held another candlelight vigil in the streets of South Korea's capital Saturday night and were planning one for Sunday as well, complaining that a new agreement with the US on imported beef still doesn't go far enough.The deal bans imports from cattle older than 30 months, and government officials said they wouldn't be resumed until there has been "a sufficient explanation" to the public.

Saying, "The way I got into office was legal," Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej vowed not to resign unless he lost a no-confidence vote in parliament. Thousands of protesters were still outside government headquarters in Bangkok Sunday following a mass protest in the streets Friday night to demand that Samak quit. The embattled prime minister said he would not order police or Army units to confront the demonstrators, preferring to allow the protests to run out of steam.

Voters in the state that produces most of Bolivia's natural gas were expected to endorse a referendum on autonomy Sunday, joining the three others where the ballot question passed earlier.Leftist President Evo Morales canceled plans to visit Tarija last week and argue against the referendum because of large planned counterdemonstrations. He has vowed to ignore the four state votes and is planning his own plebiscite Aug. 10. Above, a resident of Tarija's capital passes a building decorated with a "Vote Yes" slogan.

A furious mayor of Mexico City suspended the director of a police raid and other officials after children as young as 13 were trampled to death as they tried to flee a popular nightclub. The overcrowded club was being checked for underage drinking and illegal drug use at a party celebrating the end of the school year. Twelve people died in a rush to the exits, a dozen others were hurt, and 39 were arrested. Mayor Marcelo Ebrard said the incident was "ethically unacceptable."

Habitual smokers in a city in Scotland are to be offered a $25-a-week promotion to stop using cigarettes, reports said. Answering a challenge from the Scottish government, public health officials in Dundee will reward participants with $25 a week in free groceries if they pass a breath test to confirm that they've stopped smoking. The 12-week program begins this fall. Dundee has an estimated 36,000 smokers, making it a leader in Britain in that category, and about half of them live in poverty, the reports said.

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