A new attempt at compromise is expected Monday by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany, on how to censure Iran for failing to suspend the enrichment of uranium. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called the council's efforts "embarrassing" and "disgraceful," although the Foreign Ministry said Iran was ready to consider a proposal to transfer some of the enrichment work to Russia in the hope that doing so would ease suspicions over the nuclear program. Russia and China, two of the veto-holding council members, are opposed to US calls for tough sanctions against Iran and have said that even a milder European proposal is unlikely to bring Iranian cooperation.
Another gun battle erupted Sunday near Puntland, one of the two semiautonomous regions of Somalia, and reports said as many as 13 people were killed. The fighting was the second there in less than a week and came after Somalia's transitional government rejected a new initiative by the speaker of parliament and the increasingly powerful Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) to avert all-out war. The government called the speaker's involvement unauthorized and unacceptable. The latest battle took place less than 60 miles from the boundary of Puntland, which has vowed to resist the UIC's aim of imposing sharia law.
Four people were reported dead in the capital of Congo Sunday after shooting broke out between supporters of the rival candidates for president. The trouble arose from growing tensions as Congolese wait for final returns from the runoff election between President Joseph Kabila and challenger Jean-Pierre Bemba. Both men have pledged to respect the outcome, but the voting was held 16 days ago, and the election commission has said it can make no projection on the basis of partial returns. It has until Nov. 19 to announce the winner. In July, 23 people died from gunshot wounds in Kinshasa after first-round results showed neither candidate had won a majority of votes.
Fifteen thousand soldiers, police, and paramilitary personnel were deployed around Dhaka, Bangla-desh, Sunday after protesters demanding political reforms attacked trains, buses, and rickshaws and closed the nation's seaports. Also targeted were transit workers who refused to honor an indefinite strike called by protest organizers. A passenger died after the rickshaw in which he was riding was pelted with rocks and overturned. Violence has racked Bangladesh for months and it has worsened as the national election scheduled for January draws nearer. The protesters, led by an alliance of 14 opposition political parties, has said the voting will not be fair and has demanded the ouster of the senior elections commissioner and four deputies.
Leaders of the Church of England were bracing for what a London newspaper called "massive controversy" after issuing an official opinion that the right to life for some newborn babies is not absolute. In "exceptional circumstances," The Observer reported Sunday, church leaders want physicians to be given the right to refuse treatment to babies born with serious disabilities, "knowing it will ... probably, or even certainly result in death." The opinion is in a submission to an independent council on bioethics. It also cites "the enormous cost implications" to the National Health Service as well as to parents of invasive medical care for "very premature and sick babies."
Police were manning roadblocks and urging residents of a city in southwestern China to "trust the government" Sunday, two days after rioting forced a large local hospital to close, reports said. According to the reports, as many as 2,000 people smashed windows and medical equipment after treatment was denied a small child because the grandparent accompanying him had not brought enough money. The child, who'd accidentally swallowed agricultural chemicals, died. At least 10 people were hurt and three police cars were burned in the rioting.