Saying, "there is little left to do," Iraqi Prime minister- designate Nuri al-Maliki encouraged hopes that he'll present parliament with his cabinet nominees by the end of the week. His deadline is May 22. At a news conference in Baghdad Tuesday, Maliki said "we have done 90 percent" of the work in filling key posts after Shiite, Kurd, and Sunni leaders agreed to settle for nominees with no ties to militias. Only three key nominees remain to be chosen - for the oil, transport, and trade ministries - he said.
In another attempt to calm the nuclear standoff with Western governments, Iran's senior negotiator said Tuesday that his country had no intention of withdrawing from the Non- proliferation Treaty despite earlier warnings that it was prepared to do so. Ali Larijani sought to distance himself from Iran's parliament, which threatened Sunday to pass legislation requiring the government to back out of a protocol in the treaty that allows unannounced inspections of nuclear sites.
Nine more Palestinians were wounded Tuesday in the Gaza Strip as fighting between Hamas and Fatah threatened to become much worse. A worried Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh again urged supporters to "end all displays of arms and employ only dialogue" and was attempting to organize a meeting between the two sides to discuss an end to the violence. Meanwhile, Israeli officials planned to put on display 1,100 pounds of high explosive confiscated at sea last week as it was being transferred from an Egyptian ship to two Palestinian vessels.
Public support for the ruling Labour Party in Britain has slipped to its lowest level since 1992, The Times (London) reported amid new indications that Prime Minister Tony Blair could step down as early as next year. In the wake of Labour's heavy losses in local elections last week, an opinion poll by the Times put its support at 30 percent, compared with 38 percent for the opposition Conservative Party. Blair said in his monthly news conference Monday that he would not announce the exact date of his departure. Since then, senior Labour leaders have been urging disaffected colleagues not to bicker over his eventual departure.
At least 57 people were killed and 103 others were wounded as Islamic militiamen clashed with an alliance of warlords in Somalia's capital. The combat, which was engulfing much of Mogadishu, is the second wave since March and the worst there in a decade. It also was impinging on the work of relief organizations, which feed thousands of internal refugees from previous warfare, and was blocking efforts to move the interim government from a rural base into the capital.
The two men who spent 14 days trapped 3,000 feet underground in a collapsed Australian mine shaft are in "excellent" physical condition, doctors said, after their dramatic predawn rescue Tuesday. They were discharged from a hospital in Tasmania after undergoing tests, and one of them attended the funeral of their coworker who died in the April 25 cave-in. Parliament announced it will hold a reception for the rescued men, and media executives reportedly were offering almost $200,000 for exclusive interviews and $1.5 million for a combined TV, book, and movie deal. Whether the mine, which is the mainstay of the local economy, will reopen remained unclear, however.
One hundred people were under arrest after a mob attacked police in East Timor Monday, killing one and injuring two others. The violence was the worst in the tiny nation since it gained independence from Indonesia in 2002, and Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri called it a coup attempt, saying his government would accept "our friends' assistance" if the situation worsened. The trouble surfaced after almost 600 soldiers were fired for going on strike in March to protest alleged discrimination. Australia's government said it would consider sending peacekeeping troops to East Timor if asked.