LEBANON- ISRAEL: U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan says Syria will increase border security to prevent the flow of arms to Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrilla group. The U.N. chief made the remark after talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus today (Friday). Mr. Annan says the Syrian leader has promised to "take all necessary measures" to implement the U.N. resolution that ended the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah.
MIDEAST - AID: International donors have pledged 500 million dollars in aid for the Palestinian territories. The pledges came at the end of a one-day conference of donor nations in the Swedish capital of Stockholm today (Friday). Sweden's aid minister (Carin Jamtin) described the pledge as a "fantastic result," and said a large portion of the funds will be spent in rebuilding infrastructure in the Gaza Strip destroyed by Israel's military offensive.
IRAN - NUCLEAR: The European Union says it wants
to hold more talks with Iran before deciding on possible U.N. sanctions over Iran's nuclear program. Top E.U. officials said today (Friday) that the international community should not immediately put sanctions on Iran for failing to suspend uranium enrichment work by the U.N. Security Council's Thursday deadline. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said again today (Friday) that his country will never give up its nuclear program.
IRAQ: Iraqi search and rescue crews are pulling bodies (today/Friday) from destroyed buildings after a barrage of rocket and bomb attacks on Baghdad killed at least 64 people Thursday. The attack, which officials say included explosives planted in apartments, wounded more than 250 people. The series of blasts went off for a half hour in mainly Shi'ite areas of the capital. The coordinated attacks occurred during the intensified U.S.-Iraqi security clampdown across the capital aimed at stopping sectarian violence.
E. TIMOR PRISON BREAK: East Timor's Prime Minister Jose Ramos Horta says the United Nations and Australia are partly to blame for a prison break earlier this week in the capital, Dili. Mr. Ramos Horta says both the U.N. and Australia refused requests to provide security outside the prison. Australian Prime Minister John Howard today (Friday) rejected the accusation and said prison security was not part of the Australian troops' responsibility. Nearly 60 inmates, including a rebel leader, walked out the prison's front gate during visiting hours Wednesday.
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