At least 40 people died and 139 others were hurt Monday when a car laden with explosives rammed the gates of India's Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. Property damage also was extensive in perhaps the worst terrorist attack there since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. The Taliban denied responsibility, and the Afghan Interior Ministry appeared to agree, claiming the bomber had acted "in coordination with an active intelligence service in the region." Afghanistan often accuses Pakistani agents of being behind such violence.
Leaders of the Group of Eight (G-8) industrialized democracies opened their annual meeting in Toyako, Japan, listening to accusations that they've fallen far behind on their 2005 pledge of $25 billion in new aid to Africa. Activists said only $3 billion has been delivered, citing the host nation, Canada, France, and Italy as being the most delinquent. Japan's Foreign Ministry denied there has been any backtracking.
Through his spokesman, Presi-dent Robert Mugabe demanded Monday that Western leaders "stop meddling" in Zimbabwe's affairs. He spoke after President Bush at the G-8 meetings called the June 27 runoff election in Zimbabwe "a sham." Citing opposition sources, Britain's Guardian newspaper reported that Mugabe might still yield power to his rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, under a proposed "peace plan." But the BBC said that the idea was threatened by armed raids on a small factory owned by an opposition member of parliament and two camps for displaced opposition supporters that killed or injured several people.
Three members of South Korean President Lee Myung Bak's cabinet – the ministers of health, agriculture, and education – were replaced Monday amid the ongoing controversy over beef imported from the US. Lee also told the BBC his government should have been more sensitive to public concern over the possibility that tainted meat was being shipped to South Korea. But he said he remained convinced that resuming imports was the right decision.
Agricultural officials in Mexico denied there has been any evidence of salmonella in its produce "in recent months" and protested reports that the US Food and Drug Administration will test tomatoes, jalapeño peppers, onions, and cilantro imports before they reach market. Salmonella bacteria in produce is blamed for sickening 943 people in 40 states, plus the District of Columbia and Canada since mid-April.
Tensions rose higher along the border between Georgia and the breakaway Abkhazia region Monday after a fourth victim died from weekend bombings. In all, six explosions were reported, some on each side of the de facto boundary, with each side blaming the other. In a sign of international concern over the matter, Bush raised it with his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, at the G-8 meetings. Georgian officials accuse Russia of backing the separatists.
One of the world's most prestigious honors is to be presented to freed Colombian hostage Ingrid Betancourt, French President Nicolas Sarkozy's office said Monday.She'll be awarded the Legion of Honor next week on Bastille Day. Betancourt, who holds dual French-Colombian citizenship, also is expected to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and to be invited to meet with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican.
Saying, "It's impossible to explain what I felt at that moment," Rafael Nadal of Spain accepted congratulations Sunday night for his men's singles championship at the Wimbledon tennis tournament after perhaps the greatest match in history. He defeated five-time defending champion Roger Federer in five sets over 4 hours and 48 minutes of play. "I am ... sorry for him because he deserved this title, too," Nadal said.