Yasuo Fukuda, Japan's unpopular prime minister, resigned after less than a year in office Monday. He suffered from persistently low approval ratings while presiding over a parliament split between the ruling party and the opposition. By stepping down, Fukuda, whose father also served as prime minister, said he hoped to avoid a "vacuum" just days after unveiling $18 billion in spending to share up a flagging economy.
An earthquake that hit southwestern China Saturday killed 32 people near a mountainous border area between Yunnan and Sichuan provinces that is still reeling from the May 12 quake that killed at least 70,000 people. The quake magnitude was said to measure between 5.7 and 6.1, depending on the source, and damaged more than 250,000 homes.
Winds of 150 m.p.h. left a swath of devastation across Cuba's western province of Pinar del Rio and the Isle of Youth, but no deaths were reported Sunday from hurricane Gustav after it earlier killed 86 people in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Jamaica. Hurricane deaths are rare in Cuba, where evacuations are well organized.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected Israel's idea of an interim peace agreement at a Sunday summit in Jerusalem, a Palestinian negotiator said. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert entered the meeting in a weakened position after his decision to submit his resignation this month when his party picks a new leader. With Abbas insisting on an all-or-nothing approach, the men met for less than an hour.
Pakistan's military has suspended airstrikes in the volatile northwest for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, officials said Monday, raising concerns that insurgents seeking refuge along the Afghan border would have an opportunity to regroup.
Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej insisted he will stay in power and not let protesters who have peacefully occupied a government compound for the past week force his hand. This occurred after an 11-hour parliamentary debate ended early Monday in which two leading politicians joined demonstrators in calling for Samak's resignation.
The Indian Army and Navy stepped up efforts Monday to rescue hundreds of thousands of people marooned by floods and facing severe shortages in the east of the country. Some villagers have been living on rooftops for days. Three million people have been displaced from their homes and at least 90 were drowned by floods after the Kosi River burst a dam in Nepal, swamping hundreds of Bihar villages.
Digitally photographed images of the Dead Sea scrolls are being shot to make them available to the public and researchers on the Internet, the Israel Antiquities Authority, the custodian of the scrolls, says. Access to the scrolls, which were discovered in 1947 and which shed light on the life of Jews and early Christians at the time of Jesus, were published in their entirety seven years ago. The organization hopes to complete the current project, which can decipher letters invisible to the naked eye, in two years.
Venezuela rejected US requests Sunday to resume antidrug cooperation, insisting it has made progress despite an alleged fourfold gain in the amount of Colombian cocaine passing through its territory. President Hugo ChÃ¡vez suspended cooperation in August 2005, accusing US drug-enforcement agents of espionage. weapons, among other things.