A US drone aircraft fired a pair of missiles at a suspected militant hideout deep inside Pakistan before dawn Wednesday, killing at least five people, intelligence officials said. One of the dead was identified as a senior Al Qaeda recruiter and liaison with the Taliban, but that could not immediately be confirmed. The US military does not usually admit the use of drones. The attack was considered significant because the target site is not in one of Pakistan's semiautonomous tribal regions bordering Afghanistan.
Hebrew-language ads placed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas are scheduled appear in Israeli newspapers Thursday, making the case that a withdrawal from the West Bank and parts of Jerusalem will lead to full diplomatic recognition by Arab governments. Abbas's campaign is considered unprecedented. But it comes on the heels of a rejection by Israel of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon's appeal to reopen crossings into the Gaza Strip, allowing fuel and other vital supplies to reach users there.
Rebel forces in Congo will meet for negotiations with representatives of the Army, reports said Wednesday. But neither side offered details such as when or where the talks will take place. Meanwhile, UN peacekeepers said the rebels appeared to be keeping a promise to pull back from three fronts, one of them a national park that is the habitat of some of the world's last remaining mountain gorillas.
Legislation that would extend the Russian president's term from four years to six moved closer to passage after the lower house of parliament approved it Wednesday, 351 to 57. Only Communist Party members voted "no." It still must pass a third vote scheduled for Friday and then be endorsed by the upper house, but those are seen as formalities. If the measure passes both times, it would not affect current President Dmitry Medvedev's term, which ends in 2012. Some observers have suggested, however, that it would pave the way for Vladimir Putin, Medvedev's predecessor, to return to power.
Visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao agreed to postpone for 10 years the repayment of debts owed by Cuba, reports said Tuesday. He also signed a pact to continue buying hundreds of thousands of tons of Cuban sugar and nickel per year and pledged $80 million to help the island modernize its hospitals. Analysts said the postponement comes at a particularly favorable time for Cuba's communist regime, whose loans are coming due as it struggles to cope with heavy damage from hurricanes over the summer. China is Cuba's second-largest trading partner, after Venezuela.
Police struggled to restore order to the city of Wudu in western China as thousands of angry residents rioted there for a second straight day. The area was heavily damaged in the May 12 earthquake, and the trouble reportedly was caused by an order to relocate local government administrative offices to a neighboring county. Analysts said improving pay scales throughout China have raised people's expectations, among them that government should be more accountable.
In a new blow to Mexico's crime-prevention efforts, its senior police liaison to Interpol was placed under house arrest Tuesday. Ricardo Gutierrez Vargas, who is being investigated for alleged leaks of sensitive information to drug traffickers, may be held for up to 40 days. He is the second high-ranking official of Mexico's Federal Investigative Agency to be detained in less than a month.