Britain: Hefty gas-guzzler tax

LONDON — Drivers of gas-guzzling cars will have to pay nearly $50 a day to enter central London, triple the current charge, while the most fuel efficient vehicles will get a free ride, the mayor said Tuesday.

Mayor Ken Livingstone, who introduced the daily congestion charge on trucks and cars entering central London in 2003 to cut traffic and pollution, said the change is primarily aimed at the big cars owned by people in wealthy parts of the capital.

The mayor, who has the power to make the change without legislative approval, said it will go into effect on Oct. 27.

Denmark: Cartoonist targeted

COPENHAGEN — Danish authorities on Tuesday arrested three people suspected of plotting a cartoonist's assassination for his depiction of the Prophet Muhammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban that enraged Muslims two years ago.

Three of Denmark's largest newspapers said they would reprint the cartoon today to show they would not be intimidated by fanatics. It was one of 12 Muhammad cartoons published in 2005 and then again in 2006 that led to protests in Muslim countries.

Investigators said they foiled the plot in its early stages in a pre-dawn raid in the western Denmark city of Aarhus. The police intelligence agency, PET, said two Tunisians and a Danish citizen of Moroccan origin were arrested.

Israel: More Jerusalem houses

JERUSALEM — Israel announced plans Tuesday to build more than 1,000 homes in disputed east Jerusalem, infuriating the Palestinians and triggering a new crisis in already troubled peace talks.

Palestinian officials accused Israel of undermining efforts to reach a peace agreement by the end of the year and urged a halt to the project.

The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state and have been urging Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to halt construction in the area.

Kenya: Hopes rise for peace

NAIROBI — Peace talks to end postelection bloodshed in Kenya moved to a secret location Tuesday for a final push. Negotiators said the opposition has proposed sharing power with the government for two years and then holding new elections.

Progress at the talks has given a sense of hope to many Kenyans, who have seen more than 1,000 people die and some 600,000 flee their homes in violence that followed the Dec. 27 election. Much of the upheaval has pitted ethnic groups linked to politicians against one another.

Negotiators have talked to the media nearly every day — and, on at least one occasion, said a deal had been struck when it hadn't. Trying to get them to focus on the task at hand, former U.N. chief Kofi Annan declared a news blackout and moved the talks to a secret location outside Nairobi, his office said in a statement.

Mexico: Quake spurs panic

TUXTLA GUTIERREZ — A strong earthquake shook southern Mexico on Tuesday, causing panic and minor damage to buildings, and prompting an oil refinery to shut down as a precaution. There were no reports of major damage or injuries.

The magnitude-6.4 quake was felt across hundreds of miles, gently swaying buildings in Mexico City and rocking parts of Mexico's Gulf coast.

Pakistan: Coalition possible

ISLAMABAD — Leaders of Pakistan's two main opposition parties said Tuesday they would form a coalition government if — as expected — their groups win the biggest share of votes in next week's parliamentary elections.

The hourlong meeting of Benazir Bhutto's widowed husband, Asif Ali Zardari, and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif came one day after a survey by a U.S. government-funded organization predicted the opposition would score a landslide victory in the Feb. 18 ballot.

Zardari told reporters his Pakistan People's Party would invite Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-N as well as "other democratic forces" to join a governing coalition even if Bhutto's group won enough legislative seats to rule on its own.

"We will sit together because the country is passing through a dangerous phase and we can only steer the country out of this crisis together," Zardari said.