Zimbabwe's top opposition leader has stepped up international pressure in the hopes of forcing President Robert Mugabe to accept defeat in last month's presidential election. The leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai, is in South Africa (today/Monday) for what MDC officials are calling "private talks" with what they described as a number of "important people." The officials did not offer further details. The one-day trip came as Mr. Tsvangirai urged the International Monetary Fund to withhold one billion dollars in aid from Zimbabwe until Mr. Mugabe agrees to step down.
The head of the International Olympic Committee has called on China to peacefully and rapidly resolve the situation in Tibet following recent unrest and protests targeting the Olympic torch relay overseas. Speaking today (Monday) in Beijing at the opening of a meeting of national Olympics heads, Jacques Rogge said violence, for whatever reason, is not compatible with the values of the torch relay or the Olympic Games. Rogge said that although there were calls for a boycott of the Olympics, he saw no momentum for a general boycott. He also voiced concern that protesters could disrupt the torch relay.
OLYMPIC TORCH: French police facing heavy anti-China protests during the Olympic torch relay in Paris have briefly extinguished the flame and transported it by bus. Witnesses say police doused the flame and brought it aboard the bus on a road along the Seine river in an apparent attempt to move the torch away from hundreds of protesters trying to stop the relay. The torch was re-lighted a short while later.
The world's most industrialized nations have agreed to meet their pledge to double aid to Africa. Development ministers from the so-called G-8, or group of eight industrialized nations, concluded two days of talks Sunday in Tokyo. Delegates also agreed to increase cooperation with emerging donor countries such as Brazil, China and India, whose representatives joined G-8 ministers at the meeting. Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura, who chaired the meeting, said delegates also discussed how to reduce rising global food prices.
IRAQ: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says the movement of radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr will be barred from taking part in the political process unless it disbands its Mahdi Army. Mr. Maliki said in an interview broadcast on CNN today (Monday) that participation in upcoming elections is also dependent on the disbanding of the Shi'ite militia. Iraqi authorities say U.S. and Iraqi forces battled gunmen in Baghdad's Sadr City district Sunday, leaving at least 22 people dead.
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