ລິ້ງ ສຳຫລັບເຂົ້າຫາ

Massive Earthquake Strikes Chile, 52 Dead, Toll Expected to Rise


CHILE EARTHQUAKE: A massive 8.8 magnitude earthquake rocked Chile early Saturday killing at least 52 people, toppling buildings, and triggering a tsunami warning around the Pacific "rim of fire." Chilean President Michelle Bachelet has declared a "state of catastrophe." She said emergency response teams have been deployed across the region. Chilean officials say the death toll is expected to rise. Several strong aftershocks have followed the quake, including one with a 6.9 magnitude. The USGS says the quake hit early Saturday at 3:34 (UTC 0634) about 100 kilometers from Concepcion - a large city in central Chile.

PAKISTAN - VIOLENCE: Pakistani officials say a suicide bomber has rammed an explosive-laden van into a police station, killing four people. Investigators say at least two police officers and a child are among those killed. Authorities say about two dozen people were wounded in the Saturday blast in Karak, a town located in North West Frontier province near the Afghan border, about 150 kilometers southeast of Peshawar. A local police chief and witnesses say the bombing took place near the main gate of the police station. Officials say the blast also destroyed a nearby mosque.

PHILIPPINES UNREST: Military officials in the Philippines say suspected al-Qaida-linked militants have raided a village in the southern part of the country, killing at least 11 people. Authorities say Abu Sayyaf gunmen attacked a civilian militia detachment early Saturday in the village of Tubigan on the island province of Basilan. The military said the villagers were asleep when the rebels started spraying houses with automatic gunfire and setting them on fire. Officials say 10 civilians and a member of the local militia were killed. At least 17 people, including four children, were wounded by gunfire and blazes.

COLOMBIA - PRESIDENT: Colombia's Constitutional Court has rejected an effort by the country's president, Alvaro Uribe, to extend his time in office. The court ruled 7-2 on Friday against holding a referendum that would allow Mr. Uribe to run for a third consecutive four-year term. Following the ruling Mr. Uribe said he respects the court's decision. The Colombian president, who has been in office since 2002, is one of the country's most popular. He has been a close ally of the United States in the campaign against Colombia's leftist guerrillas.

INDIA - SAUDIA ARABIA: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh travels to Saudi Arabia, Saturday -- a trip that makes him the first Indian prime minister to visit the kingdom in 28 years. The prime minister will hold talks with Saudi King Abdullah and other leaders during the three-day visit to strengthen bilateral ties. Mr. Singh released a statement Saturday saying the trip reflects "strong mutual" desires to reinvigorate relations. In the statement, the prime minister also says the two countries could "open new frontiers of cooperation" in areas including security, technology and human resources development.

NOKOR - NUCLEAR: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she is encouraged by signs of progress toward resuming the six-party negotiations on North Korea's nuclear program. And a senior State Department official says both the United States and South Korea believe the talks will resume in the near future. Clinton spoke Friday after meeting with South Korea's foreign minister, Yu Myung-hwan, in Washington. She told reporters it is up to North Korea to decide to return to negotiations it abandoned a year ago. As State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley put it, "the ball is in North Korea's court."

BURMA - SUU KYI: The United States criticized Burma's Supreme Court Friday for not releasing opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from extended house arrest. In a news release, Congressman Joe Crowley called the Nobel Peace laureate's 14-year imprisonment "a sham from day one." Crowley said the military junta must face consequences for violating the human rights of the Burmese people. He said it is time for the United States to fully implement increased targeted sanctions against officials in Than Shwe's military regime (under the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE Act).

US - HEALTH CARE: U.S. President Barack Obama says he is willing to compromise with Republicans on a final health care reform bill. But in his weekly (radio and internet) address Saturday, Mr. Obama suggested the Democrats will try to go ahead on their own if Republicans will not join them. Mr. Obama said he was "eager and willing" to move forward with both parties, if, in his words, "the other side is serious" about getting reform passed. But he said reform "cannot wait" Minority Republicans want lawmakers to start over with new legislation, while Democrats say there is not time.

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