UK Commons speaker resigns over scandal

LONDON - The powerful speaker of the British House of Commons resigned Tuesday, bowing to a backlash over excessive expense claims by lawmakers and becoming the first speaker in three centuries to be forced out.

Though Michael Martin has not been caught up in recent revelations about lawmakers expenses - reimbursements for chandeliers, moat cleaning and mortgage payments have outraged taxpayers - he was blamed for creating a climate that allowed excesses.

In an extremely short statement to the House of Commons, Martin said he would leave the post June 21 to maintain 'unity' in Parliament's lower chamber.

Ethiopia denies its troops were in Somalia

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Witnesses said Tuesday that Ethiopian troops had crossed the border into war-ravaged Somalia and appeared to be stationing themselves in a town at a strategic crossroads. Ethiopia denied the reports.

Any substantial movement of Ethiopian troops into Somali territory could hand Somali Islamist insurgents a propaganda coup.

UN chief names Clinton as Haiti envoy

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - The United Nations named former President Bill Clinton on Tuesday as its special envoy to Haiti, with a mission to help the impoverished nation achieve some measure of stability after devastating floods and other crises.

Clinton - who will be paid $1 a year and travel to Haiti several times annually - said he was honored to accept the post.

Ahmadinejad accused of trying to buy votes in Iran

TEHRAN, Iran - Opponents of Iran's hard-line president have accused him of trying to buy votes before the June presidential election by handing out checks and free vegetables to the poor.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government has defended the payments, saying the checks for 500,000 and 1 million rials - about $50 and $100 - have nothing to do with the election.

The government has been distributing the money to poor families - most of them in rural areas and small towns - since last year.