IRAQ: Iraqi police say a bomb blast has killed at least 31 people in Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood. They say at least 24 others were wounded in today's (Saturday's) explosion near a fuel truck in the mainly Shi'ite district. The attack came as Sunni Muslims in Iraq began observing the holy month of Ramadan. Shi'ites are to begin marking the month Sunday. Meanwhile, Iraqi authorities say they have captured the leader the militant group Ansar al-Sunnah, which has claimed responsibility for several bombings and for beheading hostages.
THAILAND: Four police officers in southern
Thailand have been injured in a bomb explosion, the first attack in the country's volatile south since a military coup overthrew Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's government. Authorities say the officers were preparing security in Pattani province ahead of a visit today (Saturday) by Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, when a bomb hidden along the roadside exploded. Coup leader General Sondhi Boonyaratglin is the first Muslim to head the Thai army. He was previously tasked with resolving the conflict that has claimed more than 13-hundred lives in the last two years. Friday, about 100 protesters in Bangkok defied a ban on public gatherings to denounced as undemocratic the military coup that overthrew Thailand's government this week. Police took no action against them.
GERMANY-TRAIN CRASH: German authorities are investigating a high-speed train crash Friday that killed 23 people and injured 10 others. Prosecutors today (Saturday) sent technical experts to the test track in the northern town of Lathen where the accident occurred to find out why the Transrapid magnetic levitation train and a maintenance vehicle were on the track at the same time. The train was traveling at a speed of nearly 200 kilometers per hour when it slammed into the maintenance vehicle, which was cleaning the track.
SUDAN-DARFUR: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says
time is running out to stop the violence in Sudan's Darfur region. Rice told diplomats from more than a dozen countries on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly that the violence in Darfur is getting worse despite international peace efforts. Officials say Rice called the meeting Friday to try to increase pressure on Sudan to accept a U.N. peacekeeping force in the troubled region.
JAPAN-CHINA TALKS: Japan and China are beginning two days of high-level diplomatic talks in Tokyo today (Saturday), the first such discussions in more than four months. Japanese Vice Foreign Minister, Shotaro Yachi, and his Chinese counterpart, Dai Bingguo, are taking part in the talks in Japan's capital The discussions come at a pivotal time in Japanese politics. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is set to step down next week --- with the Liberal Democratic Party's new leader, Shinzo Abe, expected to succeed him.
TAIWAN PROTEST: Protesters calling for the resignation of Taiwan's president are demonstrating in central city of Taichung. Leaders of the campaign to oust Chen Shui-bian have been staging rallies in various cities across Taiwan for several weeks. It is not clear how many people are participating in today's demonstrations. In a counter-move, hundreds of the president's supporters are also staging demonstrations.
NEPAL-SHOOTING: Nepalese officials say gunmen have attacked and killed a member of parliament in a village south of the capital of Kathmandu. District police say three men who arrived on a motorcycle stormed the home of Krishna Charan Shrestha early today (Saturday) and began shooting. Shrestha died on the way to the hospital.
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