An Iranian military officer was in US custody in northern Iraq Thursday after soldiers seized him on suspicion of smuggling armor-piercing explosive devices. Iran has denied supplying such weapons to Iraqi militants, but the raid was the third of its type this year, and the suspect becomes the sixth to be held on such grounds.
Saying, "The hand of terror will not succeed in silencing us," Prime Minister Fuad Saniora of Lebanon vowed to press ahead with next week's election for a new chief of state. But the car-bomb explosion Wednesday that killed anti-Syrian member of parliament Antoine Ghanem and seven other people in Beirut cut the ranks of anti-Syrians in parliament, which elects the president, to 68, only three above majority status.
Despite challenges before the Supreme Court, Pakistanis will vote for president Oct. 6, the government said Thursday. The Elections Commission said nominations to oppose Gen. Pervez Musharraf must be submitted by Thursday of next week. His bid for reelection appears to have derailed negotiations on a power-sharing deal with exiled former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who plans to return home almost two weeks after the election, analysts said.
Another in the recent flurry of videos by Al Qaeda's top leaders was released Thursday, declaring war on Musharraf and Pakistan's military. In it, second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri also claims that terrorists are defeating US forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. The video singles out Musharraf for revenge in the wake of the assault in July against a radical Muslim cleric and his followers in Pakistan's capital, Islamabad. At least 75 people died in the violence. The video was the third this month issued by Al Qaeda.
Hundreds of Buddhist monks staged a third straight day of protests against the military government of Burma (Myanmar). They marched in Yangon, the former capital, ending up in front of the US Embassy. Analysts said the demonstrations, which began over an increase in fuel prices, are the most sustained dissent against the ruling junta in at least a decade. A spokesman for the monks called the junta "unjust and selfish" and vowed the marches "every Sabbath day." The next Buddhist Sabbath will be on Wednesday.
Over the objections of human rights campaigners, France's lower house of parliament approved a three-year trial of DNA testing for would-be immigrants. The controversial measure, part of a broader legislative package on immigration, still must be passed by the upper house. It is aimed at proving familial ties in cases where authorities doubt the authenticity of identification documents offered by applicants. Opponents call the tests, for which each applicant must pay an estimated $420, discriminatory.
An Iranian-American charged with spying while on a visit home was released on $107,000 bail from a jail in Tehran Wednesday night. Kian Tajbakhsh, an urban planning expert, will not be permitted to leave the country, however, a judiciary official said. A second Iranian-American, scholar Haleh Esfandiari, was freed under the same circumstances last month and has returned to the US. A third, Ali Shakeri, remains in jail. Their arrests deepened tensions between the US and Iranian governments.
Nuclear power officials in Japan hastened to assure the public that there was no new leak of radioactivity from a fire at the same power plant that was damaged by an earthquake in July. The extent of damage from the blaze Thursday was not immediately known. The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa reactor, 125 miles northwest of Tokyo, is the world's largest in terms of electricity output.