In continuing postelection violence throughout Iraq, at least 19 people were killed Monday. A car bombing in Baghdad was one of at least six that occurred across the city. Insurgent attacks, which had quieted during last week's nationwide election, also resulted in the death of 18 people on Sunday. Monday, gunmen killed five Iraqi police officers at a checkpoint north of Baghdad. Iraqi police elsewhere in the capital were attacked when a car bomber crashed into their patrol, killing three. The spike in violence comes as Sunni and secular Shiite groups complain of vote fraud. Early returns show that the religious Shiite group, the United Iraqi Alliance, still maintain a large lead.
Threatening a cease-fire between Sri Lanka and separatist rebels, government soldiers killed two suspected Tamil Tiger guerrillas Monday in the eastern city of Batticaloa. The deadly clash follows a string of violence between the two sides since rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran threatened to retake arms against the government in pursuit of an independent homeland for the country's 3.2 million ethnic Tamils. A Tamil political leader, who is opposed to the Tigers, was fatally shot Monday. On Sunday, a pro-rebel parliamentarian was assassinated while attending a Christmas service. The state and the Tigers blame each other for his death. Also, two suspected government informants were killed Saturday night. Clashes between the government and the rebels have killed about 65,000 people since 1983.
Israel plans to build 228 homes in two West Bank settlements, violating the US-backed "road map" that calls for a freeze on expansions on land that Palestinians want for a future state. But a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said the additions to Beitar Illit and Efrat were planned five years ago and would take place only in existing communities. They are also settlements that Mr. Sharon has said would be kept by Israel in any statehood agreement. Since accepting the road map in 2003, Israel has expanded other West Bank settlements. Palestinians condemned the construction and called for the US to intervene. Also Monday, Israeli officials said that Palestinian residents of Arab East Jerusalem would be permitted to participate in next month's Palestinian parliamentary elections. Palestinian officials threatened to delay the vote if Israel went through with the ban.
For saving about 100 tourists in Thailand in last year's tsunami, Tilly Smith was named "Child of the Year" by the French magazine Mon Quotidien. While on vacation, the British schoolgirl, now 11, told her parents she saw "bubbling on the water ... and foam sizzling just like a frying pan" that indicated a tsunami was nearing. She had been studying tsunamis in geography class in Oxshott, south of London, before her trip. After the discovery, her parents told the staff at the Marriott where they were staying. Soon thereafter, the beach was evacuated. It was one of the few beaches in Phuket, Thailand, where no one was killed or seriously injured. Smith and her family were expected to return to Thailand for Monday's anniversary.
The European Union will give $196.9 million to 10 African countries, the EU said in a statement released Monday. While the announcement came as the world remembered the victims of last year's devastating tsunami, this should also be a time to consider the "millions of vulnerable people in Africa ... exposed to natural disasters," said EU Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Louis Michel. "These are the silent tsunamis," he said. The aid from the EU, the world's largest aid donor, will go to Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Chad, Tanzania, Uganda, Liberia, the Ivory Coast, Madagascar, and Comoros.