"Those who sponsor" the Palestinian captors in the Gaza Strip of a young Israeli soldier were warned by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that they will be the targets of reprisals unless he is released unharmed. In a day filled with developments, Israel ignored a deadline to free Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Shalit's freedom and Olmert said he would not "let anyone believe that kidnaping is a tool to bring Israel to its knees." His use of the word "sponsors" was seen as a reference to Syria's leaders, who allow senior Palestinian militants to operate from Damascus. Meanwhile, Shalit's captors said they'd broken off contact with Egyptian mediators trying to arrange his release and would provide no further information about him. But they also said they wouldn't kill him.
The European Union, Russia, China, and Britain all urged Iran to respond as soon as possible to the international offer of incentives to halt its nuclear program. EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana is expected to tell the Iranians Wednesday that they have one week to give their answer or else efforts would resume in the UN Security Council to impose economic and political sanctions. But Agence France-Presse quoted Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani as saying the earliest the reply might come is Aug. 6. Iran originally said some of the incentives required clarification and that its response would be given Aug. 22. In any event, Larijani said, the requirement that Iran give up enriching uranium "is not reasonable."
Warplanes were ordered to the region adjoining Darfur, where 12 people died Monday in an attack by one of the rebel factions that did not sign a new peace accord with Sudan's government. The fighting had not yet subsided Tuesday, a military spokesman said, and analysts warned that it showed the Darfur conflict could be spreading to other regions. The two-month-old peace deal has not found favor with many people in Darfur, and the UN's special envoy has said it requires new concessions by the government. But the Foreign Ministry said again Monday that it could not be amended.
Separatist rebels "are all Sri Lankans" too, President Mahinda Rajapakse said Tuesday, inviting the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to talks at which they could "discuss what they want." He said he'd appointed experts from all sections of society to come up with an "outline" for peace but that he didn't want to push the rebels into a corner where they "have to accept it." The LTTE has said it will not return to negotiations with Rajapakse's government until all attacks on Tamils stop. More than 700 people have died so far this year in almost daily attacks that have pushed the island nation to the brink of all-out civil war.
An analysis of the data recorder from a subway train that overturned in Valencia, Spain, showed it was traveling at twice the speed limit at the time, officials said. The accident, one of the worst of its type in Europe in decades, killed the operator and 40 other people Monday and injured 47 more. Speeding was blamed because an inspection of the scene found the structure and conditions inside the subway tunnel to be "perfect." Still, the union to which the operator belonged said it was "sure something happened" to him to cause the excessive speed.
Voting along class lines, Bolivians apparently failed to give leftist President Evo Morales the mandates he sought in a national referendum on rewriting the Constitution or on rejecting autonomy for the nation's wealthier regions. Official results weren't complete Tuesday, but Morales seemed likely to fall short of the two-thirds majority needed in a new constituent assembly to draft a charter enshrining his proposed economic and social reforms. Morales had predicted a landslide victory for his Movement Toward Socialism Party. Meanwhile, by an overwhelming margin, four of the nation's nine regions voted for greater self-government. Poorer and heavily indigenous states, which are Morales's power base, rejected the same issue.