Sunni support for pact in doubt

BAGHDAD - A leader of the largest Sunni Arab bloc in parliament hinted he might withhold support for a proposed pact that would allow American troops to stay in Iraq through 2011, making it difficult for the Shiite-led government to win the big victory it needs in today's vote.

A comfortable parliamentary majority would ensure the legitimacy of an agreement that sets a clear timetable for U.S. withdrawal after years of war and could lead to full sovereignty for Iraq.

But intense debate and backroom dealing continued over the pact, which has supporters and detractors from both Sunni and Shiite communities jockeying for political gain ahead of provincial and general elections.

Thailand airport taken over by protesters

BANGKOK, Thailand - Protesters swarmed Thailand's main international airport Tuesday, forcing the cancellation of departing flights just hours after their comrades opened fire on government supporters in a clash on the streets of the capital.

It was the boldest move yet by the People's Alliance for Democracy in a monthslong campaign to topple Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat, whom it accuses of being the puppet of a disgraced fugitive predecessor, billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra.

Pirates move supertanker

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Somali pirates have taken their greatest prize - a Saudi supertanker with $100 million of crude oil - farther offshore in what appears to be a rare defensive move following threats by Islamic insurgents.

The pirates have dominated Somalia's high seas for the past year, bringing in some $30 million in ransom despite stepped up international efforts to fight them including foreign warships guarding the waters.

Last Friday, Islamic fighters promised to fight the pirates and free the ship because it was Muslim-owned and flagged under Saudi Arabia.

Warships dock in Venezuela

LA GUAIRA, Venezuela - Russian warships sailed into port in Venezuela on Tuesday in a show of strength as Moscow seeks to counter U.S. influence in Latin America.

Russia's first such deployment in the Caribbean since the Cold War is timed to coincide with President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to Venezuela, the first ever by a Russian president.