March 9, 2013 |
VATICAN CITY - With the terrifying grandeur of Michelangelo's "Last Judgment" looming over them, senior leaders of the Roman Catholic Church will begin casting their ballots inside the Sistine Chapel on Tuesday to elect a successor to Benedict XVI, the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years. No one campaigns for the papacy, at least overtly; the surest way for a candidate to disqualify himself for the job is to let it be known that he wants it. But various names crop up repeatedly in discreet conversations as the 115 prelates eligible to vote try to figure out who among them is best placed to lead a historic but troubled institution that claims the allegiance of 1.2 billion people.
February 28, 2013 |
NEW DELHI - The Thai government agreed Thursday to hold its first formal talks with Muslim rebels operating along the country's southern border, a potential breakthrough in a conflict that has claimed more than 5,000 lives since 2004. Analysts reacted to the development with some optimism but cautioned that various previous peace efforts had failed. “It looks like good news,” said Kraisak Choonhavan, an ex-lawmaker and the son of former Prime Minister Chatichai Choonhavan.
February 26, 2013 |
CAIRO - In another blow to Egypt's troubled democratic transition, the main opposition coalition announced Tuesday that it would boycott upcoming parliamentary elections because it didn't trust the Islamic-led government of President Mohamed Morsi to guarantee a fair vote. The decision by the secular and liberal National Salvation Front was widely expected after the nation's highest court ruled this month that provisions in the election law were unconstitutional. The opposition's strategy virtually ensures that Islamists, notably the Muslim Brotherhood and the ultraconservative Nour Party, will dominate the new legislature after the vote, which begins in April.
February 18, 2013 |
TIMBUKTU, Mali - It didn't matter that Timbuktu had been occupied by Islamist militias notorious for meting out 100 lashes to young women who flirted with, or even talked to, men. When Mamou Maiga encountered a dazzling young man while out for a walk, her world turned upside down. "He had beautiful eyes and a gentle smile," recalls Maiga, 21, smiling shyly as she remembered that day in mid-September. "He asked me if he could drop me at my house. I saw no problems. " His name was Adama.
February 11, 2013 |
TIMBUKTU, Mali - There were public protests and whispers of secret love affairs. Heroes of resistance everywhere: the female fishmonger who angrily knocked down one of the occupiers, the imam who sent them away from his mosque, the elderly sheep trader beaten for complaining about their ill treatment of others. Residents of this legendary caravan crossing are free of the violent militants who tried for nine months to impose their extreme version of Islam. French and African forces are continuing to chase them farther north into the Sahara.
February 8, 2013 |
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - A suicide bomber blew himself up at a military checkpoint outside the northern Mali city of Gao on Friday, in the first sign that Al Qaeda-linked militias may be adopting new tactics since being driven back by a French-led invasion. A man on a motorcycle approached a group of soldiers at a military checkpoint and detonated explosives, according to a military officer contacted by The Times. The attack was confirmed by Gao Mayor Sadou Diallo in a telephone interview.
February 5, 2013 |
NEW DELHI, India -- Protesters clashed with police in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka on Tuesday after a tribunal sentenced an Islamic party leader to life in prison for his role in the 1971 war of independence against Pakistan. The International Crimes Tribunal handed down the verdict against Abdul Quader Mollah, 64, a senior figure in the Jamaat-e-Islami party, in a crowded, heavily guarded courtroom at the high court complex in Dhaka. Jamaat called a general strike Tuesday that shuttered shops and schools and slowed traffic to a crawl in parts of the capital.
January 31, 2013 |
PARIS - Many French citizens support the country's military mission in Mali, which as of Thursday did not include any reported deaths of French troops, despite concern about possible retaliation by Islamic militants, polls show. About two-thirds of respondents in several polls of French adults said they backed the government's decision to send troops to the West African country, a former French colony, in response to a Malian government request for help in controlling Islamist militias.
January 21, 2013 |
CAIRO - Islamic militants who seized hundreds of hostages were "wild with their demands," forcing the Algerian military to act quickly in a standoff at a natural gas refinery that led to the deaths of 37 foreign captives and 29 extremists, the Algerian prime minister said Monday. In a televised news conference from the capital, Algiers, that offered the country's official explanation for what happened at the remote compound in the Sahara desert, Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal said the attackers were rigging explosives throughout the complex and needed to be stopped before they blew it up. The ordeal drew world attention to Algeria for five days, beginning with a predawn assault by militants Wednesday and ending Sunday when special forces captured five extremists amid booby traps and a landscape of charred vehicles and scattered, disfigured bodies.
January 14, 2013 |
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Tens of thousands of protesters led by a firebrand Islamic cleric descended on the Pakistani capital Monday in a fierce outpouring of anger and frustration with the government that many worried could destabilize the country ahead of national elections this spring. The size of Tahirul Qadri's "Long March" to Islamabad from the eastern city of Lahore appeared to fall far short of his predictions of more than a million people. The caravan of hundreds of buses, vans, motorcycles and cars jammed with demonstrators was allowed to enter the capital and hold a rally on a main thoroughfare roughly two miles from parliament.