Britain's Tony Blair addressed parliament today (Wednesday) for the last time as prime minister, just hours before he is to deliver his resignation to Queen Elizabeth. Mr. Blair fielded questions and accolades from members of the House of Commons. They included Northern Ireland's hardline Protestant cleric and lawmaker Ian Paisley, who praised the outgoing prime minister for his role in brokering peace Northern Ireland. Later today, the queen will ask Finance Minister and new Labor Party chief Gordon Brown to form a government, making him the new prime minister.
ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS: Palestinian medics say Israeli forces have
killed at least nine Palestinians during operations in the Gaza Strip. They say clashes erupted during Israeli incursions in Gaza City and the southern town of Khan Younis. The dead include at least two militants from Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Israeli military officials confirmed soldiers were operating in Gaza early today (Wednesday), and said two soldiers were wounded in the fighting.
IRAN RATIONING: Angry Iranians have attacked fuel stations in Tehran after the government announced the start of a long-awaited gasoline rationing plan. Witnesses say cars and some fuel stations were set on fire today (Wednesday). Long lines formed at other stations as Iranians tried to fill their tanks before the plan took effect at midnight Tuesday. Crowds also shouted angry slogans denouncing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad before riot police arrived to disperse them.
NOKOR-NUCLEAR: Japanese media say
North Korea will allow United Nations inspectors to visit the main reactor at the center of its nuclear weapons program. The International Atomic Energy Agency's chief inspector, Olli Heinonen, told the Kyodo news agency today (Wednesday) his team will visit the Yongbyon nuclear facility Thursday. Heinonen's team arrived in Pyongyang Tuesday for a five-day visit. The team is trying to negotiate the closing of the Yongbyon nuclear reactor and its nuclear materials reprocessing plant.
CAMBODIA PLANE: Cambodian authorities say no one survived a plane crash in a mountainous jungle area of the southern province of Kampot. A government spokesman (Khieu Kanharith) has confirmed all 22 passengers and crew died in Monday's crash. Five Cambodians, 13 South Koreans, three Czechs and a Russian were aboard the aircraft when it crashed on a flight from Siem Reap to the coastal city of Sihanoukville.
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