BEIJING - North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's brother-in-law was elevated Monday to the second-most-powerful position in the leadership, a reshuffling of personnel intended to consolidate the ruling family's grip over the country.
The promotion of Jang Song Taek, 64, long believed to be one of the most powerful men behind the scenes in North Korea, was announced after an unexpected meeting of the Supreme People's Assembly, presided over by the ailing Kim, 68.
The reshuffling appears intended to pave the way for Kim's inexperienced and little-known youngest son, Kim Jong Un, to become the titular leader after his father's death.
The Supreme People's Assembly also dumped Prime Minister Kim Yong Il, who is not related to the ruling family. He might have taken the fall for a bungled currency reform late last year. Choe Yong Rim, 81, was named to succeed him. - Los Angeles Times
COPENHAGEN, Denmark - Cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who caricatured the Prophet Muhammad and caused outrage in the Muslim world, said Monday that he is quitting because he is getting old.
"One has to stop at some point," Westergaard said. He turns 75 on July 13.
Westergaard said he hopes his retirement might help "to lower the terror threat" against the Jyllands-Posten newspaper, where he has worked for 27 years.
There have been at least three terror attempts against Westergaard or his newspaper since he and 11 other artists angered Muslims by creating the Muhammad cartoons four years ago. - AP
BAGHDAD - Attackers targeted Iraqi police and anti-insurgent fighters Monday in an apparent campaign of intimidation that left at least 13 dead and multiple homes destroyed.
Also among the dead were three civilians killed by a bomb-rigged car loaded with ball bearings that exploded in a Baghdad shopping district. Elsewhere, drive-by shooters riddled a Christian man with 15 bullets in the disputed city of Kirkuk.
The spate of violence appears aimed at undermining Iraqis' faith in the country's security forces and exacerbating sectarian tensions. It comes at a sensitive time, with political leaders jostling for control three months after indecisive parliamentary elections. - AP
British police say they were forced to break off their pursuit of the gunman who killed a dozen people across a rural area in northern England last week because he turned the weapon on unarmed officers.
Kyrgyzstan's fragile interim government suffered its first major defection Monday as the acting president's chief of staff announced his resignation and disclosed plans to create a new political party.