ISRAEL - LEBANON: Israeli military officials say one Israeli soldier has been killed in clashes with Hezbollah militants in eastern Lebanon, and eight others wounded in a separate operation. The announcement came (Saturday) on the 25th day of Israel's offensive against Hezbollah in Lebanon. Israel's army said overnight clashes with Hezbollah militants around the village of Taibe left one soldier dead and another wounded. Israeli commandos also stormed an apartment complex in the southern Lebanese city of Tyre, leaving a Lebanese soldier dead and eight Israeli soldiers wounded.
ISRAEL - LEBANON DIPLOMACY: U.S. Assistant Secretary of State David Welch has met with Lebanese officials in Beirut to discuss how to end the conflict between Hezbollah guerrillas and Israel. Welch met today (Saturday) with Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora and other officials. Details of the diplomatic effort have not been made public. U.S. officials said Friday they are close to agreement with France on a U.N. Security Council resolution to end the fighting. The resolution has been stalled by differences between Washington and Paris over whether a ceasefire should precede deployment of peacekeeping troops along the Israeli-Lebanese border.
HRW - HEZBOLLAH: Human Rights Watch is calling on Hezbollah militants in Lebanon to immediately stop firing rockets into civilian areas in Israel, referring to the attacks as "war crimes." A statement issued today (Saturday) by the New York-based organization says militants have launched 25-hundred rockets into mostly civilian areas in northern Israel since July 12th. The organization has also documented the Israeli military's use of force that has killed hundreds of Lebanese civilians. But it says crimes by one side in a conflict never justify crimes by another.
THAILAND - BIRD FLU: Health officials in Thailand say a 27-year-old man has died of bird flu. He is the second person the virus has killed in the country this year. If confirmed by the World Health Organization, the case would raise Thailand's bird flu death toll to 16 people since the virus began spreading in Asia in late 2003. Thai authorities say the latest victim of the H5N1 virus died Thursday in the central province of Uthai Thani, after burying a sick chicken. They say the man's wife is taking anti-viral medication and is being monitored.
CHINA - TAIPHOON: Chinese state media say the death toll from Typhoon Prapiroon has risen to at least 48, with 15 others still missing in China's southern region. The Xinhua news agency said today (Saturday) the majority of deaths were reported in Guangdong province The storm's torrential rains have affected nearly four million people since barreling ashore Thursday.
CUBA - CASTRO: Cuba is dismissing U.S. calls for democratic change, as leader Fidel Castro continues to recover from surgery. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pledged to support Cubans who desire "peaceful democratic change" during a message broadcast Friday over U.S.-backed Radio and TV Marti. Rice also encouraged other democratic nations to pressure Havana to released imprisoned political prisoners. But Abel Prieto, Cuba's cultural minister, says Rice's comments were of no value to residents of the Caribbean island nation.
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