Afghan police opened fire today (Wednesday) and killed four rioters in a crowd of Muslims protesting against cartoon drawings of the prophet Muhammad. Eleven protesters were wounded, and authorities say several police and an Afghan soldier also were injured by rocks during the clash in Qalat, (capital of Zabul province) in southern Afghanistan. Police had been pelted with stones just before the shooting began. Authorities said security forces first fired their weapons into the air, hoping to gain control of more than 400 demonstrators.
A top U.S. State Department official says Washington is still considering a push for a United Nations Security Council resolution against Burma's ruling military regime. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill says efforts to encourage international pressure on Burma's government are beginning to pay off as more countries urge Rangoon to ease its suppression of the democratic opposition. Hill made his comments at a joint hearing of two House subcommittees.
Chinese state media report that six senior government officials have been arrested in Beijing, accused of taking bribes. The China Daily says the officials from the State Food and Drug Administration were arrested on January 12th at the agency's annual conference. Those detained included (Cao Wenzhuang) the director of the department of drug registration.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has invited North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to visit Jakarta. An Indonesian presidential spokesman says Pyongyang has accepted the offer in principle, but details of the visit still have to be discussed. The spokesman says an Indonesian special envoy presented the invitation to North Korea on a trip to Pyongyang last week, while helping arrange a meeting between top Korean generals.
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