Fighting between Chad's government and rebel forces has worsened around the presidential palace, where President Idriss Deby is trapped inside. Residents in N'Djamena say they have heard automatic gunfire as well as heavy weapons and anti-tank fire near the palace. A French official says President Deby has refused an offer to evacuate him from the rebel assault. Rebel forces say they have surrounded the presidential palace and want to give Mr. Deby a chance to leave. But Chad government ministers say President Deby is still in charge. Residents of N'Djamena say they cannot tell who controls the capital.
SRI LANKA BOMBING: The Sri Lankan military says a female suicide bomber blew herself up at the main railway station in the capital today (Sunday), killing at least eight people and wounding about 100 others. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack in Colombo, but the military says it suspects the bombing was carried out by Tamil Tiger rebels. Earlier today (Sunday) a hand grenade exploded at the Colombo Zoo, wounding several people. A bomb on a bus Saturday killed 18 people in central Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka marks its 60th independence day Monday.
SERBIA ELECTION: Serbs are voting in a tight runoff presidential election. Pro-Western incumbent Boris Tadic is facing ultra-nationalist Tomislav Nikolic. Mr. Tadic, the head of the Democratic Party, wants Serbia to move toward European Union membership. Mr. Nikolic leads the Serbian Radical Party and supports closer ties with Russia. Both candidates say they will not recognize independence for Serbia's breakaway Kosovo province. Mr. Nikolic won the most votes in the first round of presidential balloting last month with 40 percent of the vote. President Tadic earned 35 percent.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said today (Sunday) that he will remain in Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government despite a report critical of Israel's handling of the war with Lebanon. There had been speculation that Barak would pull his Labor Party out of the governing coalition after last week's release of a key report on the 2006 Lebanon war. That would have left the coalition short of a majority in the Knesset (Israel's parliament). A report from a special commission announced last Wednesday that the country's 2006 war with Hezbollah militants in Lebanon had been a serious failure.
CHINA-TAIWAN: China has warned that Taiwan's decision to hold a referendum on joining the United Nations could threaten peace in the Asia-Pacific region. Taiwan announced Friday it will hold two separate referendum votes on the island's controversial U.N. bid during its presidential elections in March. In Beijing today (Saturday), the state-run Xinhua news agency carried a government statement warning the vote could "seriously imperil peace across the Taiwan Strait (between China and Taiwan)." U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said earlier this week the move would be provocative and would unnecessarily raise tensions.
Audio in Lao.