World news: Strauss-Kahn on suicide watch at New York prison

IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been put on suicide watch at the New York jail where he is being held on sex charges.

The 62-year-old banker and diplomat, who was favourite to become the next president of France, has a whole jail wing to himself, a medical device to make sure he does not stop breathing during the night, and guards checking him 24 hours a day to make sure he does not kill himself.

Strauss-Kahn has been behind bars at New York City's massive Rikers Island jail complex since appearing in court on Monday accused of trying to rape a hotel maid.

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He is now under pressure to resign from his post as managing director of the IMF.

Austrian finance minister Maria Fekter said he was "hurting the institution".

The questions over Strauss-Kahn's future have revived long-standing complaints over the stewardship of the global agency.

Developing countries are unhappy about the IMF voting system, in particular the "gentleman's agreement" that has ensured a European head of the IMF and an American head of its sister body, the World Bank, since their creation just after the Second World War.

Protesters urge mass walkout

Syrian protesters have called for a one-day nationwide general strike tomorrow, urging students to skip school and workers to bring commerce to a halt in a new strategy of defiance against increasingly brutal crackdowns by President Assad's government.

Journalist is safe in Qatar

A JOURNALIST who was detained in Syria last month has been released and is safe and well in the Gulf state of Qatar. Dorothy Parvaz, who works for al-Jazeera, went missing after leaving Qatar on April 29 for Damascus to cover the anti-government uprising in Syria.

Syria said she was deported to Iran shortly after her arrival. Iranian authorities did not acknowledge whether they were holding her.

Her fiance, Todd Barker, said she called him with news of her release.

Clashes after grenade attack

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UP to 100 militants with rocket-propelled grenades attacked a key security checkpoint near the Pakistani city of Peshawar early today, sparking a three-hour clash that killed two police officers and 15 insurgents. Police said the attack on the Sangu Mera checkpoint was likely carried out by Sunni Muslim extremists.

NATO assault sparks demo

Afghan officials today said more than 1000 people were protesting in the northern city of Taloqan against an overnight NATO raid that killed four people. The protesters say the two men and two women were civilians. NATO said it killed four insurgents in the operation.Condom call leader ready for church KO

Philippines: President Benigno Aquino said today he was ready to face excommunication from the catholic church for advocating free access to condoms in proposed new legislation.

Japan: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will visit the devastated area of Fukushima when he travels to Japan this weekend to show his country's support for reconstruction efforts after the twin earthquake and tsunami disasters.