Suspected militants bombed a bus carrying prisoners in northwest Pakistan on Thursday, killing at least nine people, as fighting between security forces and extremists flared across the country's tribal belt. The fresh violence comes days after ex-President Pervez Musharraf, a longtime US ally, resigned, triggering a scramble for power that caused the country's ruling coalition to collapse. Meanwhile, thousands of lawyers blocked roads across the country, including in Rawalpindi, to press the government to reinstate judges purged by Musharraf.

In Bangkok, thousands of demonstrators, some armed with golf clubs, batons, and bamboo sticks, defied a court order to end their occupation of the prime minister's office compound on Thursday, vowing to remain until the government of Samak Sundaravej steps down. Samak and police officials have repeatedly said they would not use force to evict the protesters unless they continue to defy a court order.

In an anticorruption police purge in the Mexican border state of Baja California, a total of 129 officers were suspended or fired Wednesday after a months-long sweep, authorities announced. The sweep is part of a nationwide campaign by President Felipe Calderon to clean up Mexico's long-corrupt police forces as they fight an escalating battle against powerful drug cartels. Fired officers will be added to a national database of corrupt cops so they can't be hired again somewhere else.

Gustav weakened to a tropical storm over Haiti Wednesday, but not until flooding from 12 inches or more of rain killed 23 people in the Caribbean, including eight buried by a landslide in the Dominican Republic.

Canada moved to firm up control of disputed Arctic waters Wednesday by announcing stricter registration requirements for ships sailing in the Northwest Passage. Prime Minister Stephen Harper said all ships sailing into the Canadian Arctic will be required to report to the Canadian Coast Guard agency that tracks vessels on such journeys. Such registration is currently voluntary.

Government forces in Srinagar, India, ended a hostage crisis early Thursday in the mainly Hindu city of Jammu in Indian Kashmir when they killed the last of three rebels believed to have seized eight people, Army officials said. The slaying ended a 20-hour gun battle. Kashmir, which has been divided between Hindu-majority India and Muslim Pakistan since 1947, has experienced its worst violence in more than a decade during the past two months.

The first outbreak of violence in China's western region of Xinjiang since a pair of high-profile attacks during the Olympics has left two Chinese policemen dead and seven more wounded, authorities and an activist said Thursday. The conflict occurred in a village in the predominantly Muslim region, where Chinese officials have long said militants among the region's dominant ethnic Uighurs are leading an Islamic separatist movement.

Indian Army troops helped evacuate more than 120,000 people from floods in eastern India, where more monsoon rains raised concerns that rivers would continue to overflow. The worst flooding in 50 years occurred after the Kosi River broke a dam in Nepal, where it originates, unleashing huge waves of water that smashed mud embankments. Above, floodwaters engulf an area in the eastern state of Bihar.

American forces arrested a top Iraqi Shiite government official as he stepped off a plane at Baghdad's airport, a political ally said Thursday. The US said the man arrested, Ali al-Lami, was a leader of Iranian-backed militias and was behind a June 24 bombing that killed 10 people, including four Americans.

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