At least six people were killed and scores of others were rushed to hospitals after a series of powerful explosions in the walled city of Jaipur, India, Tuesday night, early reports said. Police blamed the explosions on terrorism and said they expected the toll of casualties to mount. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. The blasts, which went off in a crowded market area in a span of about 10 minutes, sent shoppers fleeing in panic. Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan State, is a popular tourist destination.
Police in Zimbabwe harassed a convoy of ambassadors – among them those of the US, Britain, and Japan – as they visited hospitals to investigate assaults on opponents of the Mugabe government. The incident followed a claim by the UN's representative in Zimbabwe that political violence there was nearing "crisis levels." In a related development, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change said one of its newly elected members of parliament was arrested, allegedly for links to a disturbance in his district.
Members of the powerful lower house of parliament voted to approve a space-based defense system for Japan Tuesday, the latest move to loosen restrictions on the rigidly controlled armed forces. The bill is considered certain to pass the upper house as well. It is aimed primarily at allowing the military to use the civilian satellite program. Japan already is building an antimissile shield with US help.
Fourteen more Colombian paramilitary chiefs were on their way to the US, where many of them are wanted on drug-trafficking charges. The government said Tuesday that all had failed to comply with a 2003 accord under which they were to be given reduced prison terms in exchange for confessing their crimes and surrendering their profits. Last week, Colombia extradited perhaps the most notorious former paramilitary boss, Carlos Jimenez.
Striking farmers in Argentina turned for help to opposition members of Congress and provincial governors and suggested that they may not end their latest blockade of grain export terminals Thursday, as originally planned. Results of a new opinion poll showed that 78 percent of Argentines want the government to change its system of taxes on agricultural products, which has caused the farmers' revolt.
Embattled King Gyanendra of Nepal will ask to keep a ceremonial role after he leaves the royal palace, an aide told the Bloomberg News Service. The new constituent assembly, which will rewrite the Constitution, is scheduled to begin work May 28, and its members have agreed that the monarchy will be abolished on that day. The communists, who hold the most seats in the assembly, warned of unspecified action against Gyanendra if he does not leave voluntarily.
New delays in delivery of the A380 superjumbo passenger jet were announced Tuesday by its maker, Airbus. The company, already almost two years behind schedule, said it needs another two to three months to convert from individual to automated production. It has orders for 192 of the huge planes, which have a list price of $300 million each, but has turned over only four to buyers so far.
A global campaign to plant trees set its target Tuesday at 7 billion by Nov. 30 of next year, the opening date of the next UN climate conference. An official of the UN Environment Program said that number of trees would absorb carbon dioxide equal to the volume emitted each year by Russia. Already, volunteers, corporations, and governments have planted more than 2 billion, another spokesman for the UN program said.
Strong currents were slowing the efforts of rescue crews in northern Bangladesh after a heavily crowded river ferry capsized in a rainstorm late Monday. Police said about 25 passengers swam to safety but at least 44 others drowned and dozens more were believed still trapped inside the sunken vessel.