Thai premier declares state of emergency
BANGKOK, Thailand: Thailand's prime minister declared a state of emergency in the capital today after street fighting overnight between supporters and opponents of the government left one man dead and dozens injured. The developments followed a threat by state workers to cut off water, electricity and phone service at government offices and disrupt flights of the national airline in support of protesters trying to bring down Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej. An announcement broadcast on all Thai television stations at 7 a.m. said that Samak had decreed a state of emergency in Bangkok and that army Gen. Anupong Paochinda was in charge of enforcing it.
Brazil intelligence chief suspended over wiretap
BRASILIA, Brazil: Brazil's president has suspended the head of the nation's intelligence service amid a scandal over wiretaps on the phones of top officials, including the chief justice of the Supreme Court. A statement yesterday from President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's office said Paulo Lacerda was temporarily removed from his post while an investigation takes place. The scandal broke over the weekend after the Brazilian news magazine Veja reported that the head of Brazil's Supreme Court, members of Congress and officials close to the president - including his chief of staff and at least one Cabinet official - all had their phones bugged by the intelligence agency.
Money sent home by Mexicans drops sharply
MEXICO CITY: The amount of money Mexicans sent home suffered its sharpest drop on record in July as the U.S. economy slowed and the dollar fell, Mexico's central bank reported yesterday. Remittances - Mexico's second-largest legal source of foreign income after oil - dropped by 6.9 percent in July compared with the year before. The worst previous year-over-year monthly decline was 6.3 percent in January.
India's 'untouchables' are last to be rescued TRIVENIGANJ, India : In the two weeks since a monsoon-swollen river burst its banks, ancient prejudices have run just as deep as the floodwaters. India's "untouchables" are the last to be rescued - if at all - from a deluge that has killed dozens and made 1.2 million homeless. Dalits, the social outcasts at the bottom of the Hindu caste ladder, have borne the brunt of the devastation as the rampaging Kosi River swamped hundreds of square miles in northern India. Ravindra Prasad Singh, a state government official coordinating rescue work in Triveniganj, about 875 miles east of New Delhi, the capital, denied that Dalits were being ignored, but he could not explain why only a single boat of Dalits had come in during all of Sunday afternoon even though they make up more than half the region's people. Yesterday, other government officials acknowledged that there was a serious problem with Dalits being ignored but said they were working to fix it.
EU threatens to delay talks on Russian deal BRUSSELS, Belgium : European Union leaders warned Russia yesterday that talks on a wide-ranging political and economic agreement would be postponed unless Russian troops pull back from positions in Georgia. The threat to delay talks set for this month on the "partnership and cooperation agreement" with Russia came after Britain and eastern European nations held out for a tougher line. But Europe's dependence on Russian oil and natural gas deterred stronger sanctions. At a four-hour meeting, the leaders ordered EU bureaucrats to study alternative energy sources to reverse growing dependence on Russia, which supplies a third of the EU's oil and 40 percent of its natural gas. French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he planned to travel to Moscow for talks with Russian leaders.
Five Afghan children are killed in raids KABUL, Afghanistan : Foreign and Afghan forces killed five children in two separate operations yesterday, further undermining President Hamid Karzai after he demanded a halt to attacks in civilian areas. NATO said it accidentally killed three children in an artillery strike in the east yesterday after insurgents attacked its troops in the area. One artillery round slammed into a house in the Gayan district of Paktika province. In a separate raid, police officer Qubaidullah, who goes by one name, said U.S. troops backed by Afghan intelligence agents killed a man and his two children near the capital, Kabul.