Thirteen bombs exploded across India's troubled northeastern state of Assam, killing at least 61 people and wounding more than 300 others. Police were searching for additional devices that hadn't gone off. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, but dozens of militant separatist groups operate in the region. Thursday's attacks were the third time in seven months that targets in Assam have been bombed. Last week, an explosion in neighboring Manipur State killed or wounded 38 people.
A new stimulus plan worth $300 billion was announced Thursday by Japan's prime minister to try to cushion the economy against a deep recession. "We're facing a storm that comes once every 100 years," Taro Aso said, revealing that the package would include loans and credits to businesses, expanded tax-exempt housing loans, reduced highway tolls, and other features. The plan is the second of its type in three months. Germany is expected to unveil a similar plan next week.
After months of trying in vain to broker an exchange of prisoners between Hamas and Israel, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said his government would gladly turn the task over to "whoever can solve the problem." Hamas has demanded the release of hundreds of Palestinians from Israeli jails in return for freeing captured soldier Gilad Shalit. Representatives of the US, the European Union, Russia, and the UN are expected to gather in Cairo Nov. 8 to assess the progress of Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.
The rebel chief whose forces threaten Congo's eastern provincial capital said Thursday he wants direct negotiations with the government on security in the region. Gen. Laurent Nkunda told interviewers he ordered a halt to his followers' advance on Goma in the hope that it would end the chaos there and allow those who'd fled a safe return as well as access to humanitarian aid. But he said he still wants control of the city, which is on the border with Rwanda.
As many as 17 people were hurt when a car bomb exploded on the campus of a university in Spain's Basque region Thursday. The blast also set nearby vehicles and a building on fire. Police and University of Navarre officials disagreed on whether ETA, the Basque separatist organization, had warned of the bomb in advance. Police said they'd received two such calls.
Riot police surrounded the US Embassy in Damascus, Syria, Thursday although it was closed for security reasons as tens of thousands of people a mile away denounced last weekend's raid on a border village. Syria has demanded a formal apology from the US for the attack as well as compensation and has threatened to cut off cooperation on border security.
Political tensions rose higher still in Thailand's capital after unidentified attackers threw grenades at the home of a judge and into an encampment of protesters demanding that exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra return to serve a prison term. Ten people were hurt in the latter incident, and a passerby attracted by the commotion was shot to death. Thaksin, who now lives in London, was sentenced in absentia last week to two years in jail for corruption.
Inspectors in Hong Kong found more eggs tainted with the industrial chemical melamine in a shipment imported from China, the third such discovery this week. They sought from the Chinese government "a melamine-free certification for eggs that are going to be exported." The latest discovery came as Chinese news organizations said it was an "open secret" that melamine is added to animal feeds, raising worries that the food-safety scandal may yet extend beyond eggs and milk-based products.