Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and his Cabinet handed in their resignations today to pave the way for former Foreign Minister Taro Aso to become Japan’s third leader since 2006.
Aso, a wisecracking conservative who clinched the presidency of the ruling party earlier this week, was all but guaranteed to be elected prime minister later in the day. His Liberal Democratic Party dominates the powerful lower house of parliament.
Fukuda had announced he would step down three weeks ago after only a year in office, citing slumping support ratings and the strain of dealing with strong political opposition.
U.S. soldiers shoot leader of ally group
American soldiers accidentally shot and killed the leader of a local U.S.-allied Sunni group Tuesday after coming under attack in a volatile area north of Baghdad, the military said.
The shooting comes a week before the Shiite-led Iraqi government begins to assume authority over the Sunni groups known as the Sons of Iraq, or Awakening Councils. The military has credited the Sunni revolt against al-Qaida in Iraq as a key factor in the sharp decline in violence over the past year.
The head of the group in Siniyah, Jassim al-Garrout, was killed after he rushed to the site of an ambush against U.S. forces in the area, which lies between the northern oil-hub of Beiji and Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit, according to witnesses and police.
One of al-Garrout’s comrades said the group would demand an apology from the Americans.
Border patrol to search cars
Mexico’s government plans to search 10 percent of all vehicles entering the country from the United States in an effort to curb arms smuggling, the attorney general said Tuesday.
Most illegal weapons in Mexico come from the United States, according to officials in both countries. Many end up in the hands of powerful drug cartels who supply most of the cocaine entering the United States from South America.
Attorney General Eduardo Medina said the stepped-up vehicle searches would start soon at Mexican custom checkpoints, though he did not give an exact date.