EAST TIMOR: Nobel Peace laureate Jose Ramos-Horta has been named East Timor's new prime minister, ending weeks of political uncertainty in the nation. East Timor's President, Xanana Gusmao, made the announcement today (Saturday) after meeting with leaders of the ruling Fretilin party. Party leaders had earlier presented him with a list of viable candidates for the position. Mr. Ramos-Horta resigned as foreign and defense minister last month in protest of then embattled Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri's government.
NOKOR MISSILE: The top U.S. envoy on
North Korea, Christopher Hill, says he supports a Chinese proposal for informal six-party talks on Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program. He also said today (Saturday) during his visit to South Korea that the U.S. is willing to meet bilaterally with North Korea on the sidelines of those talks. Hill is on a tour of nations involved in the stalled six-party negotiations to coordinate a response to North Korea's testing of seven missiles last Wednesday. Hill again today rejected a North Korean demand that Washington lift financial sanctions against Pyongyang before resuming nuclear negotiations.
IRAQ: A top U.S. commander in Iraq has concluded that some senior Marine officers failed to investigate fully the killings of as many as 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha last November. Military officials say Lieutenant-General Peter Chiarelli, head of ground forces in Iraq, concluded that senior officers failed to look into inconsistencies in the initial reporting of the incident. "The New York Times" quotes officials today (Saturday) as saying General Chiarelli recommended unspecified disciplinary action for some officers.
YEMEN TERROR: A Yemeni court has acquitted 19 men charged with planning attacks against U.S. interests in the country. The court ruled today (Saturday) there was not enough evidence to support the charges. The men, including five Saudis, were accused of plotting to kill Americans and other Westerners in Yemen.
NY - TUNNEL PLOT: U.S. security officials
say they have disrupted a terrorist plot to attack the transportation system in the New York-New Jersey area. FBI official Mark Mershon said Friday the plan was intercepted early in the plotting stages and that none of the suspects had ever been in the United States. Mershon says the plot had eight principle players, three of whom are in custody abroad. U.S. and Lebanese authorities have identified one of those detained as Assem Hammoud, a Lebanese citizen who is reported to have confessed his involvement. Officials say the plotters had targeted a road tunnel leading into New York and hoped to send waters from the Hudson River flooding into lower Manhattan. Security experts note such a plan would have failed because the area is above the level of the river.
BURMA - REBELS: Burma's state media say nearly 900 Shan ethnic rebels have surrendered their weapons to the military regime. The reports said the 848 men from a breakaway faction of the Shan State Army turned over small arms, grenades, mines and communication equipment at a ceremony Thursday in the northeastern Shan states. In return for their surrender, the military junta allocated a region for them to live, earn their living and carry out regional development. The military also pledged to provide the rebels with food, clothing and shelter.
ISRAEL - PALESTINIANS: The Palestinian
Hamas government has called for a ceasefire by militants and Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip after nearly two weeks of fighting that has left about 40 Palestinians dead. A statement today (Saturday) by Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh urges Palestinian militants and Israeli forces to halt military operations in Gaza and return to calm. Earlier today (Saturday), Israeli troops withdrew from parts of the northern Gaza Strip after other forces advanced to the (Shajaiyeh neighborhood on the) outskirts of Gaza City.
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