European diplomats appealed to the presidents of Congo and Rwanda Sunday to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe as an estimated 250,000 refugees from around the city of Goma remained out of reach of aid. Rebels led by Gen. Laurent Nkunda have sought to assure those who fled that they may return. But rain and the lack of food, water, and shelter were making conditions miserable. The Congolese and Rwandan presidents appeared cool to any intervention by troops other than the UN peacekeepers who already are unable to provide security. But they've agreed to talks on the matter this week in Nairobi, Kenya.
Survivors of last week's earthquake in southwestern Pakistan pleaded for insulated tents Sunday, saying that continuing aftershocks make returning to their houses too risky. Red Cross officials said villages in Baluchistan Province that haven't been helped are still being discovered. They appealed for $8 million in emergency funds to buy tents, since nighttime temperatures are dipping below freezing.
Exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra of Thailand addressed tens of thousands of supporters in a Bangkok stadium Saturday night by telephone and said he can't return as long as he remains subject to a prison sentence. The event was the biggest response so far to the ongoing antigovernment protests by Thaksin's opponents in the People's Alliance for Democracy, who accuse him of corruption.
Acting President Rupiah Banda was declared the winner of last week's election in Zambia and was sworn in as soldiers guarded against potential unrest. The Electoral Commission said Banda, who was vice president until Levy Mwanawasa died in August, won 40.1 percent of the vote, versus 38.1 percent for opposition leader Michael Sata. Sata refused to accept the outcome and will demand a recount, his Popular Front Party said.
Thousands of police were enforcing security on Indonesia's Bali island Sunday amid indications that the executions of three convicted Islamist bombers are imminent. The US and Australian governments both warned their citizens to avoid traveling to the Muslim nation or to at least keep a low profile if visiting there. The militants whose bombs killed 202 people – many of them Australian tourists – are expected to be executed by firing squad at any time.
US antidrug activities in Bolivia were ordered to stop immediately by President Evo Morales, who accused agents of spying for and providing cash to "criminal groups" opposed to his rule. Morales said the suspension would be indefinite. The move was the latest in a series dating back to September, when the leftist leader expelled US Ambassador Philip Goldberg. In Washington, the State Department rejected Morales's claim as "absurd."
"To clear up any accusations against me," Mexico's acting federal police commissioner resigned. Victor Gerardo Garay said he'd cooperate in an investigation into whether his department has allowed drug shipments to move through Mexico City's main airport. Some analysts saw the resignation as more bad news for President Felipe Calderón, who has been waging an uphill battle not only against narcotics trafficking but also to change the perception that Mexico's police are corrupt and untrustworthy.
Three more men were found dead Sunday following a gas explosion in a state-owned coal mine in China's Shanxi Province, bringing the casualty count to 26, reports said. Three others remain missing. Seven men escaped the blast last Wednesday night. The Shanxi mine had up-to-date licenses, the Xinhua news agency said. Almost 3,800 Chinese miners have died in accidents or flooding this year.