Mediator Thabo Mbeki was meeting with Zimbabwe's president and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangiari Tuesday to try to salvage their power-sharing agreement, saying that he's "sure" of success "no matter how long it takes." Given the positions staked out by Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe, however, analysts said Mbeki had little room for maneuver. As the talks began, parliament opened its first session under the control of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. Its early priority: a constitutional amendment establishing the office of prime minister, which would go to Tsvangirai. Tsvangirai has warned that he'll walk away from the power-sharing deal if Mbeki's mediation efforts fail.

Tens of thousands of residents of northern Sri Lanka were leaving their belongings behind as they fled an advance by government troops, the Red Cross said Tuesday. Reports put the Army's advance within 1-1/2 miles of Kilinochchi, the headquarters from which the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam have waged a 25-year campaign for an independent state. The Army said it had repelled a fierce counterattack by the rebels Monday, killing 38 of them. But with journalists barred from the area, the claim couldn't be confirmed.

The battle of wills deepened between Ukraine's top leaders, with President Viktor Yushchenko ordering a district court abolished Monday night because it agreed to block the national election he scheduled for Dec. 7. The court had ruled in favor of Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who refused to ask parliament for the $85 million needed to pay for the vote. Her All Ukrainian Union Party will appeal the abolition order, a spokesman said. Tymoshenko maintains that holding a third election in three years would be irresponsible amid Ukraine's financial problems.

A tense confrontation between government troops from Thai-land and Cambodia was taking place along their disputed border Tuesday as the deadline approached for what the latter's prime minister declared would become a "death zone." The commander of Cambodia's forces claimed the Thais had retreated after crossing the border, but a Thai spokesman denied there had been any troop movements and said his unit was prepared for an attack. Premier Hun Sen warned that "at any cost" a Thai invasion would be prevented, calling the situation a matter of "life and death."

By a one-vote margin, the Supreme Court in the Philippines sided with Christian politicians Tuesday and ruled the government's controversial autonomy agreement with Muslim rebels unconstitutional. The majority said the deal was "whimsical, capricious [and] arbitrary." Analysts said President Gloria Arroyo hoped the issue would be declared moot because the high court already had blocked a deal-signing ceremony with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and she had disbanded the government's negotiating team.

Thirty-four people were arrested and 30 others were hurt Mon-day night when a rally in Montenegro's capital turned violent. Most of the injured were police, after rioters pelted them with rocks and burning flares. As many as 10,000 people sympathetic to Serbia had gathered in Podgorica to demand that Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic reverse last week's decision to recognize the declaration of independence by Kosovo. A follow-up rally scheduled for Thursday was banned.

At least 25 young people were arrested early Tuesday as police raided public housing complexes in eastern France, searching for those involved in two days of antigovernment rioting that caused almost $1 million in damage. A manhunt for 11 other suspects was under way. The June 14-15 violence wrecked the railroad station and several stores in Vitry-le-François.

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