IRAQ: Iraqi police say a suicide bomber has killed at least eight people at a checkpoint near the northern town of Tal Afar. They say another six people were wounded when the bomber set off his explosives at the army post today (Saturday). The dead included four soldiers and four bystanders. U.S. Major General Joseph Peterson said Friday four thousand Iraqi police have been killed in action over the past two years. The general, who overseas the coalition police training effort, says another eight thousand have been wounded in that time.
NOKOR NUCLEAR: North Korea's neighbors are applauding a U.N. Security Council statement warning Pyongyang not to carry out any nuclear tests. South Korea's Foreign Ministry expressed support for the statement adopted Friday, and urged North Korea to return to stalled six-party talks on its nuclear program. Japan also welcomed the U.N. move, and urged the Security Council to swiftly adopt a resolution outlining punitive measures if North Korea goes ahead with a nuclear weapons test. The Council said Friday that testing a nuclear device would bring universal condemnation, and warned of unspecified consequences if North Korea follows through with such a test.
KOREAS - DMZ: Officials in South Korea say South Korean troops fired warning shots after five North Korean soldiers briefly crossed a boundry in the Demilitarized Zone that divides the peninsula. Military officials say the North Korean soldiers retreated to the northern side of the zone after the warning shots were fired today (Saturday). No injuries were reported. About one-million troops face each other along the Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South Korea.
IRAN NUCLEAR: World powers have agreed to discuss possible U.N. sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program but said they are still open to negotiations. Following talks in London Friday, top diplomats from the U.S., Britain, France, China and Russia (the five permanent U.N. Security Council members) plus Germany said they were "deeply disappointed" by Tehran's refusal to stop enriching uranium. British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said diplomats will now begin consulting on a U.N. measure that authorizes the Security Council to impose non-military sanctions on Iran.
JAPAN-CHINA-SOKOR: Japan's new prime minister sets off Sunday for a trip to China and South Korea, for meetings aimed at repairing strained relations with the Asian neighbors. Shinzo Abe heads to China for his first visit as Japan's new leader, and the first by a Japanese prime minister in five years. The Japanese leader will hold talks with President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao. Mr. Abe heads to South Korea Monday for meetings with President Roh Moo-hyun.
GEORGIA- RUSSIA: Russia President Vladimir Putin has urged the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to push for changes in what he calls Georgia's aggressive behavior. In a letter sent Friday, Mr. Putin accused the government in Tbilisi of preparing to use force in the breakaway Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The letter followed Russia's deportation of nearly 150 Georgians in a growing dispute over allegations of Russian spying on its southern neighbor.
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