Police in Pakistan have identified – but aren't ready to release the names of – those behind the ambush Tuesday of Sri Lanka's cricket team, reports said. Authorities in Lahore, where the attack took place, also admitted they'd been forewarned and said security could have been "much, much better."
A $585 billion stimulus plan by China's government should revive the troubled economy and help achieve the goal of 8 percent growth, Premier Wen Jibao told the opening session of the National People's Congress Thursday. He said the government hopes to generate 9 million new jobs in the cities to offset what will be the "most difficult" year so far this century. The communist regime is said to believe those targets must be met to satisfy a population that has grown used to a steadily rising standard of living.
Central banks in Britain and the European Union both lopped another half-point off their key lending rates Thursday, sending them to historic lows amid increasingly grim economic news. The sixth cut in Britain since October reduces the rate to 0.5 percent, and the central bank said it also would expand the money supply by $106 billion to stimulate new lending. The new EU rate: 1.5 percent. The European Central Bank projects a drop in gross domestic product for the bloc of as much as 3.2 percent this year.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin of Russia vowed to stop the flow of natural gas to Ukraine for the second time this winter if it doesn't pay its latest bill by Saturday. Putin said the raid by security agents earlier this week on Ukraine's natural gas company "is of extreme concern" to the Kremlin. Russian gas reaches Ukraine by pipeline, and a new cutoff almost certainly would affect customers in Europe as well.
Lawyers for jailed Zimbabwean cabinet nominee Roy Bennett were dismayed by a Supreme Court ruling that prosecutors may appeal his release. The case is a source of growing tension in the new unity government. Bennett was ordered freed on bail earlier this week although he remains in custody. He is the Movement for Democratic Change's choice to be junior agriculture minister, but prosecutors have charged him with plotting terrorism. A conviction at trial could result in a life sentence.
A Palestinian backhoe operator was shot to death in Jerusalem Thursday amid a rampage in which his vehicle crushed a police cruiser, rammed other cars and a bus, and injured two officers. The incident was the fourth of its type there since last July. In a statement, Hamas praised it as "a natural response to [Israeli] aggression against our people."
An order by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez to nationalize rice mills does, indeed, cover one owned by US agribusiness giant Cargill, reports said. But it wasn't clear whether other Cargill properties involved in food production would be included in the decree. Also seized: mills belonging to Empresas Polar CA, Venezuela's largest privately owned company and distributor of a wide range of other food products. Chávez warned he would expropriate the entire company "if they get funny with us."
While Kyrgyzstan won't reverse its decision to close a vital US airbase, President Kurmanbek Bakiyev said "the doors are open" to negotiations for a continued American presence there. The US must vacate the base, which funnels troops and materiel to Afghanistan, within six months. However, Bakiyev said, "We are ready for any new proposals from the US government aimed at stabilizing the situation in Afghanistan." Critics suggested his remarks were a gambit to extract higher rent for any new US facility.
Labor leaders on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe called a halt Wednesday night to the general strike that had brought commerce to a standstill. They said most of their demands – chiefly a wage increase for low-paid employees – have been met. Negotiations on the rest are ongoing. But the union chiefs warned that they'll order a resumption of the strike if the government or employers renege on any agreements.