Iran will not give up "one iota" of its nuclear program, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a speech in which he returned to a familiar theme: that Israel is illegitimate and "cannot survive." His remarks followed those of Iran's senior nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, who warned Wednesday that the imminent UN resolution calling for sanctions against his government would end any possibility of a compromise in the continuing standoff. Weighing in on the subject, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Iran must be made afraid of retribution if it doesn't abandon its nuclear ambitions or else it cannot be stopped from developing such weapons.
Three more military personnel were killed in Sri Lanka in the third day of attacks this week blamed on Tamil rebels. The surge in violence came as military reinforcements were sent to Galle, the port city where rebels infiltrated a naval base Wednesday, triggering explosives in the first such attack along the southern coast. The area is popular with tourists, and authorities said some of the attackers may still be at large. The two sides are pledged to attend a new round of peace talks late next week.
For the first time, the president of Ethiopia admitted that he has sent troops to help the weak interim government of neighboring Somalia. Meles Zenawi said the troops are trainers rather than a fighting force. But he said Islam-ist militiamen have been massing inside Somalia near the border, reinforced by extremists from other Muslim countries. "There is danger looming," he told parliament, and it it continues, "our forces will have the ... obligation" to fight. The Union of Islamic Courts, whose control over Somalia is growing, has declared holy war on Ethiopia, although no clashes have been reported so far.
Leftists who've been disrupting the tourist city of Oaxaca since May were dealt a blow Wednesday when a fact-finding team sent by Mexico's Senate reported that government there is functioning acceptably. The protesters say there's a power vacuum in Oaxaca and that state Gov. Ulises Ruiz must resign or be removed. The investigators' findings, in the form of a resolution, were expected to be put to a vote in the Senate Thursday. Five people have died in the city since the unrest began, and more than 1 million students have been unable to attend public school.
Police fought with thousands of striking students in the streets of Chile's capital in another demonstration against the pace of educational reform. The protests Wednesday, which also involved other cities, resulted in 366 arrests, although they appeared less organized than those of May and June, which rocked new President Michelle Bachelet's administration. One leader said the latest strike was "a warning to the government" because of slow progress in modernizing a system that dates back to the dictatorship of former President Augusto Pinochet. Bachelet called the new demonstration unjustified. She said her government has fulfilled almost every promise made to the students.
A candidate for mayor in Russia's far east was gunned down Thursday, becoming the fifth public figure to die in a wave of assassinations across the nation since mid-September. Police were focusing on political motives for the shooting of the candidate, a member of Russia's main pro-Kremlin party. While the assassinations seem to have no connection to one another, attackers also have killed a prominent Central Bank official, investigative journalist Anna Politkov- skaya, the property manager of the Itar-Tass news agency, and a commercial bank manager.
At least 20 people were hurt and property damage was heavy in a series of explosions at an Army ammunition depot in central Serbia Thursday. Residents said the area, 95 miles south of Belgrade,the capital, resembled a war zone after the blasts, which went on for hours. The cause was not mediately known, although authorities said sabotage could not be ruled out.