In its clearest signal yet that a missile launch is imminent, North Korea's space agency said Tuesday it is preparing to put "an experimental communications satellite" into orbit. The announcement did not indicate when, however. Foreign intelligence agencies have speculated for weeks that the North is about to test-fire its longest-range ballistic missile, the Taepodong-2, which reportedly is capable of reaching the US West Coast. Rival South Korea's defense minister called the planned launch a "provocation" and said his agency would proceed "on the assumption it's a missile."
Taliban leaders in northwestern Pakistan's Swat Valley extended their truce with government forces "for an indefinite period" Tuesday and said they'd release "all security personnel in our custody" as a goodwill gesture. The announcement came hours before the current cease-fire was due to expire. The extension allows peace negotiators for the two sides more time to reach a deal, but skeptics doubt that the Taliban will agree to loosen their grip on the valley or be satisfied with the mild version of Islamic law the government has said it will accept there.
At least 13 more people were killed and dozens of others were hurt in Somalia's capital Tuesday in the heaviest fighting to date between Islamist militiamen and African Union peacekeepers. The casualties came on top of the deaths of 11 Burundian soldiers at the hands of a terrorist bomber Sunday. But Burundi's Defense Ministry said it planned to send 850 reinforcements to the peacekeeping mission in Mogadishu as soon as possible.
Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once Russia's richest man, has been moved from prison in Siberia to Moscow so he can be tried on new charges, reports said. Khodorkovsky, who built the giant Yukos oil company, still has four years to serve of a 2005 sentence for tax evasion and fraud, which critics maintained was politically motivated because he funded parties opposed to then-President Vladimir Putin. Prosecutors reindicted him last week for theft and embezzlement, a move that appears aimed at keeping him behind bars far into the future. Yukos was broken up in 2003 and its best assets were sold to a state-controlled company.
Cabinet meetings in Thailand were shifted from Bangkok to a southern resort as thousands of antigovernment protesters surrounded Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's offices, demanding a new national election. Police in riot gear monitored the demonstration and Army troops were on standby alert, but no violence was reported. The protesters, followers of ousted government chief Thaksin Shinawatra, say Abhisit's government was not popularly elected and is illegitimate.
Roadblocks were rebuilt by protesters on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe as negotiations stalled on ending a 35-day general strike for higher pay and dozens of other union demands. Negotiators representing France's government left the talks Monday night, saying "the state doesn't believe it should finance or reimburse wage increases for private employers." Union leaders vowed to "put the popular pressure [back] on the streets and make them share their fortune with the people."
Gunmen fired on a convoy carrying the governor of Chihuahua, Mexico's most violent state, killing one of his bodyguards and wounding two others. Gov. JosÃ© Reyes Baeza who wasn't hurt in the attack, said it did not appear to be an assassination attempt. But he canceled plans to meet with federal officials in Mexico City on Chihuahua's security problems. More than 1,000 people have died in drug-related violence in Mexico already this year, half of them in Chihuahua. Last year, the 1,000 mark was not reached until April 22.