Boy Scout foils assassination attempt in Maldives

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - A quick-thinking Boy Scout foiled an assassination attempt on the president of the Maldives on Tuesday, grabbing an attacker's knife as the man leapt from a crowd and lunged at the leader, an official said.

President Maumoon Gayoom was unhurt, but his shirt was ripped as the attacker tried a second time to stab him before being overpowered by security guards, government spokesman Mohammed Shareef said.

'One brave boy saved the president's life,' he said.

Mohammed Jaisham Ibrahim, wearing his blue Maldives scout uniform with a blue kerchief, was standing in the crowd to greet Gayoom on Hoarafushi, one of the 1,190 coral islands in the Indian Ocean that make up the Maldives.

Indian inventor of low-cost prosthetic foot dies at age 80

JAIPUR, India - Dr. Pramod Karan Sethi, inventor of a low-cost prosthetic foot that has helped millions of people in developing and war-torn countries, has died. He was 80.

Sethi died Sunday of a cardiac arrest in the northern Indian city of Jaipur, his daughter Lata Bhargava said Tuesday.

Working with a local craftsman, Sethi, a surgeon, developed the Jaipur Foot in 1968 with India's rural poor in mind.

German polar bear to be hand-raised by zookeepers

NUREMBERG, Germany - The Berlin zoo's polar bear, Knut - who garnered worldwide fame by being hand-raised by his keepers from a pint-sized fluffball to adulthood - now has company.

The Nuremberg Zoo announced Tuesday that it would also begin bottle-feeding a newborn polar bear cub that was taken away from its mother over fears she might harm it.

US, Iraqi forces open joint operation against al-Qaida

BAGHDAD - The U.S. military launched a countrywide offensive Tuesday against al-Qaida in Iraq's efforts to regroup and intensify suicide strikes on civilians who have sided with the Americans against the terror group.

But the latest U.S. blitz brings more than just firepower to the field - a determination to speed up work on basic services and other civic projects that commanders believe will win more converts to the American effort.

The No. 2 U.S. commander, Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, announced the new operation - named Phantom Phoenix - and took pains to say it would focus on bettering Iraqi lives as well as on attacks against al-Qaida.

Sri Lankan official killed by bomb

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - A roadside bombing blamed on the Tamil Tigers killed a Sri Lankan government minister Tuesday in an attack likely to intensify the civil war already raging across this Indian Ocean island nation.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa condemned the assassination as proof of the rebel group's 'continued commitment to terror and violence,' and hinted the government would strike back after the insurgents' first successful assassination in 19 months.

'This sad event is a further reminder of the need to redouble our efforts to rid our country of terrorism and the use of violence to achieve political ends,' he said in a statement.

Sudanese troops fire on UN convoy

KHARTOUM, Sudan - Sudanese soldiers shot at a convoy of U.N. peacekeepers in Darfur, critically wounding a local driver and wrecking a fuel tanker barely a week into the force's new mission in the region, officials said Tuesday.

The attack was the latest challenge for the U.N. force, which has been heralded by the international community as having the best chance to quell five years of violence in Darfur but took the field with only a fraction of the anticipated troops.

Kenya's president appoints cabinet

NAIROBI, Kenya - Kenya's president named half his Cabinet on Tuesday, angering opposition leaders who accuse him of stealing the recent election and undermining mediation attempts for a power-sharing agreement to end violence that has left more than 500 dead.

In the hours after President Mwai Kibaki announced his Cabinet appointments, police fired over the heads of youths who set up a roadblock of burning tires in the western town of Kisumu, according to a resident there. In Nairobi's oldest slum, Mathare, a witness reported hearing the first gunshots in three days just an hour after the announcement.