Hamas militants and Egyptian police were erecting a chain-link fence reinforced with barbed wire Monday to close a breach in the security wall along the southern Gaza Strip. Despite that effort, Egypt's government said it wanted the border crossing to be under the control of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, with the cooperation of Israel and European Union monitors. Hamas has rejected that option and is expected to send representatives to Cairo later this week to plead its case.
A day of mourning was declared across Lebanon after a protest against the rationing of electricity in Beirut turned violent and seven people died. At least 19 others were hurt. The trouble was confined to mostly Shiite neighborhoods, as Army troops kept it from spreading to Sunni and Christian areas. The rioting was the worst since the aftermath of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri's assassination in February 2005. Above, a soldier keeps the curious away from a burned-out car after the rioting.
Tens of thousands of Indonesians lined the route of the late dictator Suharto's funeral procession Monday as he was buried with full military honors. The ceremonies were led by President Susilo Bambang Yudhyono and were televised live across the sprawling archipelago. Suharto's eldest daughter, Siti Hadijanti Rukmana, asked for forgiveness "if father has made any mistakes." And "if he has done good," she said, "may Allah multiply [it]."
A five-hour standoff ended peacefully in northwestern Pakistan Monday, as gunmen freed dozens of students and teachers they'd been holding inside a high school and surrendered. Tribal elders had guaranteed the hostage-takers safe passage through police lines, but it was unclear whether they'd left the area. Police described the gunmen as criminals rather than Islamist militants.
As expected, members of parliament in Thailand chose cabinet veteran Samak Sundaravej as prime minister, restoring civilian leadership after 16 months of military-backed rule. Analysts predicted the move would anger many Thais since Samak is a close ally of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, whom the military ousted and who is believed to be planning a return from exile in May. Samak (above, being besieged by reporters after the vote in parliament) also is appealing a two-year prison sentence in a defamation case.
Sell-offs of stock extended into a second straight week on Asian and European markets because of worry about the US economy. Benchmark indexes in London, Paris, and Frankfurt, Germany, all were down by 1.2 percent or more at midafternoon. In Japan, the Nikkei erased last Friday's brief recovery, closing down by another 4 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 4.3 percent. China's key index closed down by 7.2 percent to its lowest level in six months.
Prosecutors sought fraud, forgery, and breach of trust charges Monday against the young trader who cost banking giant Société Générale more than $7 billion in losses. But rather than being motivated by personal profit, they said Jerome Kerviel hoped to be seen as "exceptional." He surrendered to authorities over the weekend and has been cooperating in the investigation of what's believed to be the largest fraud in history by a single person. Société Générale reportedly conceded that gaps in its security system allowed the fraud to happen.
Most of internationally famous entertainment mogul Simon Cowell's considerable fortune will be left to charity, reports said. The "American Idol" producer/judge and recording industry executive said he has written his will to benefit various children's and animal causes by $180 million at his death – a move that critics said contrasts with his often unsparingly blunt commentary about contestants' talents and even their appearance.