Arab leaders appeared unenthusiastic Sunday at President Bush's address as he wound up his tour of the Middle East at a forum in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt. Bush won only scattered applause after urging them to allow dissent, modernize their economies, and "trust their people to chart their future." He also declared that Iran must not be permitted to develop nuclear weapons.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reportedly has threatened to quit if "substantial" progress isn't achieved soon in peace talks with Israel. A spokeswoman for a senior Israeli attending the Sharm el-Sheik forum said Abbas set a six-month limit for moving the process forward. Abbas complained at the forum that Bush's speech barely mentioned Palestinian aspirations.
Gen. Than Shwe, the leader of Burma's military government, made his first reported visit to a relief center Sunday, two weeks after cyclone Nargis devastated coastal regions of the country. But despite the concerns of the World Health Organization and other international groups, state radio said there were no "incidents of any epidemic outbreaks" among survivors. A UN envoy was to tour one battered region Monday or Tuesday as part of an effort to plead for the acceptance of more international aid, and Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon announced plans to follow later this week.
Prospects for the survival of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) are bleak, and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan expects to be banned from politics, senior colleagues told Reuters Sunday. They said the party is thinking of fashioning itself as a new political movement. The nation's highest court is considering a case that seeks to shut down the AKP on grounds that it has violated the secular Constitution by supporting Islamist activities.
At least seven people were killed and more than 50 others required hospitalization in Johannesburg, South Africa, late Saturday night as rampaging residents of a poor suburb shot, stabbed, and beat immigrants. Many of the casualties were Zimbabweans who'd left their own country because of its economic ills. The trouble began when the immigrants were accused of monopolizing scarce jobs and housing.
Tensions between the governments of Venezuela and Colombia rose higher still over the weekend as one of the latter's Army units was accused of a border violation. The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said about 60 Colombian troops were intercepted a half-mile across the boundary and were ordered to return home. Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, who has been feuding with his Venezuelan counterpart for months, said he'd apologize if the accusation turned out to be true.
As expected, President Leonel Fernandez of the Dominican Republic coasted to victory in his bid for a third term, official results showed Saturday. The closest of six challengers, Miguel Vargas Maldonado, a construction tycoon, finished 14 points off the pace. Elections officials said the turnout was high: 71 percent.
Rescuers brought 706 passengers and all 22 crew members to safety Sunday after their river ferry caught fire on the Indonesian island of Borneo. It was not clear, however, whether everyone aboard had been accounted for. The fire took five hours to bring under control, but authorities said rescue efforts were made easier because it broke out during daylight hours and because other boats were nearby.
Delegates from 191 countries are to open the ninth UN Convention on Biological Diversity in Bonn, Germany, Monday – tackling issues ranging from protecting plants and animals to limiting the spiraling prices of food staples. A key focus of the two-week gathering: reviewing the goals of the 2002 UN Earth Summit, which set an eight-year target for slowing the loss of diversity.