China: Waters rising

CHENGDU — Faced with the prospect of massive flooding from a blocked river in the highlands of Sichuan province, authorities have announced plans to evacuate more than a million people should the rock-and-mud embankment give way, a threat that grew more urgent on Wednesday.

The herculean task of moving so many people, officials said, would have to be accomplished within four hours, the time it would take for the wall of water to inundate scores of cities and rural villages that are already grappling with the devastation caused by the May 12 earthquake.

Officials spent Wednesday rehearsing plans to move people from several urban areas, many of them swollen with refugees from neighboring towns and mountain hamlets.

Iran: Speaker chosen

TEHRAN — Iran's lawmakers overwhelmingly picked conservative Ali Larijani as parliament speaker Wednesday, sending another strong message of discontent with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's leadership by boosting one of his likely challengers in elections next year.

Larijani, the country's former top nuclear negotiator, has said he wants a less confrontational approach to the West and brings wide international experience to the influential speaker's post.

His selection was the latest sign of dissatisfaction with the president's handling of Iran's economy — flush with oil revenue but still stumbling — and worries about the diplomatic impasse over Iran's program to develop nuclear technology.

Mexico: Baby charges

MONTERREY — Police in northern Mexico have arrested two people accused of buying Mexican babies to sell to U.S. couples for a profit, investigators said Wednesday.

Amado Torres, 64, of Harlingen, Texas, and his 25-year-old wife, Maria Isabel Hernandez, are suspected of buying more than a dozen children aged 2 or younger, officials say.

Investigator Oralia Mancha said the child-trafficking ring came to light when a woman came to a police station in Reynosa on Monday to report her granddaughter missing, spotted Torres there and claimed he had the baby.

Police later arrested Torres and Hernandez after finding them with the baby at a house in nearby Rio Bravo.

Myanmar: Silence broken

YANGON — The world broke a self-imposed silence on Myanmar politics Wednesday, expressing anger at the military junta's decision to extend the detention of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi days after foreign donors pledged millions to help cyclone victims.

Several countries, including the United States, Britain and France, issued biting statements about the regime's order to keep the Nobel peace laureate under house arrest for a sixth year.

Many nations critical of Myanmar's abuses had put politics aside to help survivors of Cyclone Nargis, which ravaged the Irrawaddy delta nearly a month ago, killing more than 78,000 and leaving 1.5 million homeless. Representatives from 50 nations pledged up to $150 million Sunday, while remaining quiet about Suu Kyi's plight.