One of the more competitive cyclists in the Tour de France was suspended by his team and was being questioned by police Wednesday after testing positive for a "banned medicine." Moises Duenas Nevado, a Spaniard, had been in 19th place as the race entered its 11th stage. Last year, four riders tested positive for performance-enhancing substances or were pulled from the field in the closing stages for evading such tests. The 2006 champion, Floyd Landis of the US, was stripped of his title after a positive test.
Local authorities must be more responsive to people's complaints, the government of China ordered Wednesday. The announcement was seen as an indication that with the opening of the Olympic Summer Games three weeks away, the government wants to prevent additional protests or demonstrations that could turn violent. At least two such incidents have embarrassed the host nation in recent weeks, and a warning purportedly from more than 100,000 laid-off teachers said they'd try to use the Olympics to draw attention to their cause.
Hundreds of thousands of people staged dueling protests in Argentina's capital Tuesday night, both aimed at pressuring the Senate in its critical vote on a set of tax increases affecting grain exports. The hikes already have passed in the lower house of Congress, and analysts expected the outcome in the Senate to be too close to call. The four-month-long dispute between angry farmers and leftist President Cristina Fernandez has been the bitterest there in almost a decade. Farming leaders have vowed to appeal to the courts for a final resolution.
Tension-easing efforts were under way in Thailand and Cambodia over a disputed Hindu temple site on their border. Hundreds of troops from both sides faced each other Wednesday after activists were arrested for trying to plant Thailand's flag on the temple grounds, although they later were released and there were no reports of fighting. Xinhua, the Chinese news agency, said it had learned that "border committees" from each country would meet as soon as possible to discuss the issue.
Irate supporters of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim warned of massive demonstrations Wednesday, and water cannon were moved into position in the streets of Kuala Lumpur after he was arrested in connection with a sodomy accusation. He has denied guilt. A police source suggested that his release on bail was "likely" by nightfall, but his lawyer predicted an indictment on the allegation. Anwar was fired as deputy prime minister in 1998 and spent six years in prison on the same charge, but his conviction ultimately was overturned by the courts. Above, reporters besiege him prior to his arrest.
A deal that would grant the largest Muslim separatist group in the Philippines an ancestral homeland was reached with government negotiators, both sides said Wednesday. The accord with the Moro National Liberation Front would affect roughly 3 million people and pave the way for resumption of peace talks to end a four-decade-old conflict that has taken an estimated 120,000 lives. Powerful Christian clans on southern Mindanao Island are considered virtually certain to object, however, reports said.
A return to democracy in Fiji is still possible within the promised timetable, foreign ministers of neighboring nations said after two days of meetings with military ruler Frank Bainimarama and his political opponents. But the visitors also cautioned that Bainimarama must show the political will to hold a free election by the end of next March. Since pledging to allow the vote, the Army chief has insisted that the electoral system must be reformed first, a stance that critics see as a delaying tactic.