Bite-sized briefing: world

Pakistani aircraft bombed militants in the South Waziristan region on the Afghan border, after at least 120 people were killed in terrorist attacks over eight days. Government forces are preparing for a ground offensive against the al-Qaeda and Taliban stronghold.

The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton (right), said Washington would not press for new nuclear sanctions against Iran following talks in Moscow with her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov. Lavrov reaffirmed Moscow's view that further sanctions would be counterproductive.

Sri Lanka's presidential and parliamentary elections will be held before April 2010, more than a year early, state news sources announced. The government hopes to gain from strong public support after its defeat of the Tamil Tiger rebels in May. Up to 7,000 civilians were killed during the offensive.

South African police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at protesters demanding better sanitation and housing. Thousands of residents of two communities near Johannesburg had barricaded roads and marched on public offices. There have been sporadic protests over infrastructure since April's elections.

A further 13,000 support troops, including engineers and medical personnel, will be deployed to Afghanistan in a move that was not publicly announced by the US. This is in addition to 21,000 combat troops deployed in March.

Romania's government fell after losing a vote of no confidence, the first such measure since the end of Communist rule in 1989. Parliament voted 254-176 to oust Prime Minister Emil Boc's government, which lost its majority when coalition allies pulled out on 1 October. An interim government will rule until elections on 22 November.

Japan will end its support of the war in Afghanistan when its current mandate expires in January. It had provided fuel and logistical support for US forces in the Indian Ocean, but during the August elections the winning opposition party pledged a foreign policy with greater independence from the US.

Jean Sarkozy, 23-year-old son of the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, announced his intention to become head of Epad, a powerful public agency that manages La Défence, France's main business district. Amid cries of nepotism, more than 40,000 people signed an online petition calling for Sarkozy Jr to pull out.

UN peacekeepers were criticised for supporting a government military offensive in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A report by international aid agencies said the mission had caused widespread killings and rape.

The death toll in the Philippines is rising. Floods and landslides triggered by heavy rain have killed at least 225 people, following two typhoons that left at least 650 people dead and thousands stranded. A UN appeal for funds has raised $19m, a quarter of the amount sought.

Workers in several Mexican cities staged protests at a government decision to dissolve the state-run energy distribution firm, Luz y Fuerza del Centro. The powerful Electrical Workers' Union declared a state of emergency.

Radovan Karadzic has lost his appeal for war crimes charges against him to be dropped. His trial is due to start on 26 October.

Guinea's military rulers have agreed a huge mining and oil deal with China, the BBC reported. A Chinese firm is expected to invest more than £4.5bn. The leader of West Africa's main economic bloc, Ecowas, warned that the country was in danger of slipping into another dictatorship.

The US health-care reform bill was passed by the Senate finance committee. One Republican, Olympia Snowe, backed the proposal. The bill must now be combined with a bill by the health committee before a full Senate vote