It is "imperative" that President Pervez Musharraf be impeached, the leaders of Pakistan's new ruling coalition said Thursday. Speaking for his partners, Asif Ali Zardari, the widowed husband of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, said Musharraf had conspired to oppose the transition to a civilian government. He also accused the president of reneging on a promise to seek a vote of confidence in parliament if his party lost last February's election. Zardari said impeachment proceedings would begin immediately and that "We hope 90 percent of the lawmakers will support us."
At least 23 people were hurt in battles between Georgian Army units and separatists in the breakaway region of South Ossetia, reports said Thursday. In Moscow, the Kremlin said the clashes showed that Georgia was preparing for war, although a Russian envoy was in the latter's capital for negotiations aimed at defusing the growing tensions. Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said "confrontation is not in [our] interests," adding, "We should all stop this craziness."
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams appeared to add new fuel to the uproar in the world's Anglican community over homosexuality. The Times (London) reported Thursday that private letters written by Williams eight years ago have come to light. In them, he said the Bible does not forbid active same-sex relationships in which both partners make a commitment "in a way comparable to marriage." Williams describes his conclusions as "definitive." The 77 million-member Anglican Communion wound up its conference on church issues – among them homosexuality – last Sunday.
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim of Malaysia was free to campaign for a seat in parliament Thursday after prosecutors formally charged him with sodomy. A magistrate in Kuala Lumpur, the capital, released him on bail until his next court appearance, Sept. 10 – two weeks after the election. But if he's convicted at trial, he could be ordered to prison for up to 20 years. The charge is the second of its type against him. In 1998, he was fired as deputy prime minister and convicted of sodomy. He spent six years behind bars before a court overturned that verdict.
Muslim rebels in the southern Philippines were given 24 hours to withdraw from dozens of predominantly Christian villages or be attacked. The government's Interior Ministry said Thursday it was responding to pleas for help from local Roman Catholics, who accuse the rebels of seizing cattle and torching houses. The government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front agreed last month to a deal that would expand a Muslim autonomous zone in the region. But earlier this week the Supreme Court suspended it on appeal by Christian legislators.
Free and transparent elections were promised by the leaders of Wednesday's military coup in Mauritania "as soon as possible." But they did not announce a date for the voting or explain why they toppled civilian President Sidi Cheikh Ould Abdallahi. Led by Army chief Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, members of parliament rallied in support of the coup, but the US, the European Union, and the African Union all condemned it.
Land and personal property seized by Nepal's former communist rebels in their quest to overthrow the monarchy will be returned to the original owners, the presumed new prime minister said. Prachanda, as he chooses to be called, also said the rebels' youth wing is being dismantled. Prachanda led the rebel movement that now is planning to join a government of national unity.