AFGHANISTAN: A powerful suicide car bombing near the U.S. Embassy in Kabul has killed at least 16 people, including two American soldiers. U.S. military officials say the bomber set off his explosives in the Afghan capital today (Friday) as a U.S. convoy was passing by. Witnesses say U.S. soldiers and security personnel quickly cordoned off the area and began investigating the blast. South of Kabul, another suicide bomber blew up his car today (Friday) outside the city of Kandahar, killing only himself. And in western Afghanistan, a bomb attack wounded four Italian soldiers.
ISRAEL - LEBANON: An Israeli government spokesperson (Miri Eisin) says the naval blockade of Lebanon is likely to end within hours. Reports from Beirut say the United Nations has informed Lebanon that a joint French, Italian and Greek naval force began patrolling the Lebanese coastline today (Friday - around noon local time). The Jewish state lifted its blockade of Lebanon's airports late Thursday. Israel imposed the blockade at the start of its war against Hezbollah to prevent the guerrilla group from getting arms supplies from Iran through Syria.
IRAQ: The Iraqi Health Ministry says more than 15-hundred people were killed in Baghdad last month. The announcement today (Friday) follows recent comments by Iraqi and U.S. officials that a huge security crackdown in the capital was working. The Iraqi ministry said, based on reports from morgues and hospitals, the death count in Baghdad from insurgent attacks and sectarian violence in August was about 14 percent lower than in July.
THAILAND - BOMB PLOT: Police say an officer in Thailand's army has admitted involvement in a plot to kill Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Sergeant Chakrit Chanthara is one of five members of the military that police have detained in connection with the alleged assassination conspiracy. Police say he has confessed to all charges against him. Another of the military men in custody was arrested with explosives in his car near Mr. Thaksin's home in the Thai capital, Bangkok, August 24th.
VIETNAM - APEC: Finance ministers from Asia-Pacific nations are pledging to work toward restarting talks on freer international commerce. The 21 members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) wrapped up their two-day meeting today (Friday) in Vietnam's capital, Hanoi. They have released a joint statement saying they will work with their countries' trade authorities to get talks started again on what is known as the Doha round of World Trade Organization negotiations. Those talks aim to standardize international trade and tariff rules, so as to promote fair and balanced development worldwide.
INDONESIA - GARBAGE: A garbage dump has collapsed on the outskirts of Indonesia's capital, Jakarta, killing three people and burying an unknown number of others. Rescuers are using heavy machinery to dig through the mountain of trash, searching for survivors. Those killed or missing were sifting through the garbage in the overnight hours this (Friday) morning, collecting recyclable materials for resale.
UN - US TERROR: U.N. top human rights official Louise Arbour has called on the United States to abolish all of its secret overseas prisons it recently admitted using for the interrogation of terrorism suspects. A spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights says Arbour views President Bush's announcement this week that 14 terror suspects have been transferred from secret CIA detention facilities to the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as significant, but not enough.
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