Futures prices for crude oil quickly reversed their two-day decline as Iran's military boasted of successfully test-firing missiles capable of reaching Israel. Prices that closed at $136.04 a barrel Tuesday were back up to $138.34 at midday in trading in London. A Revolutionary Guard commander said the tests "demonstrate our ... might against enemies who in recent weeks have threatened Iran with a harsh language."
Russia is "deeply distressed" at the newly signed deal to build part of a proposed US missile defense shield in the Czech Republic, President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday. Medvedev (above, c., in a light moment at the Group of Eight meetings with President Bush and German Chancellor Angela Maerkel) vowed there would be a Russian response to the system, although he did not go as far as his foreign ministry, which threatened to retaliate "with military/technical methods."
US forces in Iraq will "mostly be done" with their work by the middle of next year, Army Lt. Gen. James Dubik told the House Armed Services Committee Wednesday. But Dubik, who was in charge of training Iraq's Army and police, said long-term US help will remain necessary because the Iraqis still lack experienced commanders.
Opposition sources in Zimbabwe appeared to confirm Wednesday that discussions with the government on sharing power are imminent. A lawyer for Tendai Biti, the chief negotiator for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), successfully sought the return of his client's passport so Biti can travel to neighboring South Africa for the talks. The passport was confiscated last month when Biti was charged with treason. On Tuesday, the MDC denied a claim by the government that talks were in the offing.
Pro-government Sunnis and Shiites allied with Hezbollah broke a two-week-old truce in Tripoli, Lebanon, Wednesday, fighting with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic rifles. At least four people died and 50 more were hurt, among them Lebanese soldiers deployed as a buffer between the two sides. Some of the wounded were residents, hit by gunfire as they tried to flee to safety.
Gunmen riding in SUVs attacked a joint peacekeeping patrol from the UN and the African Union in Sudan's Darfur region, killing five of them and wounding 18 others, the state news agency reported Wednesday. It said 17 peacekeepers are missing. The joint force is far below its authorized strength of 26,000 men and reportedly must contend with poor cooperation from the Sudanese government.
Another round of protests against educational reform legislation turned violent in Chile Tuesday, with demonstrators hurling rocks and police responding with tear gas and water cannon. In Santiago, the capital, 150 people were arrested – 82 of them students. Two policemen and four teachers were reported hurt. A similar demonstration took place in Valparaiso, the seat of Congress. The protesters say the legislation doesn't address the needs of students from poor families.
The chief of police and senior prosecutor in Mexico City quit under fire Tuesday, following a heavily criticized night club raid that resulted in 12 deaths last month. Mayor Marcelo Ebrard said "institutional changes" need to be made to the police department to ensure that similar incidents do not happen again. Police went to check the club after reports of illegal drug use and underage drinking at a party marking the end of the school year.
Forty-seven people, many of them children, were killed and 11 others were seriously hurt when a truck on which they were riding rolled off a mountain road in southern Bolivia Tuesday. The vehicle, which reports said may have been traveling too fast for conditions, fell hundreds of feet to the ground. The accident was the nation's worst this year.