SOMALIA: Witnesses in Somalia say Islamist fighters have retreated from front-line positions after coming under heavy attack by government and Ethiopian forces. Residents in the town of Daynuney - just south of the transitional government headquarters in Baidoa - told the Associated Press troops loyal to the Council of Islamic Courts movement withdrew more than 50 kilometers today (Tuesday) to the southeast. Witnesses said Islamic forces also abandoned their main stronghold in Bur Haqaba and were forming convoys headed toward the capital, Mogadishu.
ASIA TSUNAMI ANNIVERSARY: Survivors and relatives of those who died in the Indian Ocean tsunami observed the second anniversary of the disaster with moments of silence, prayers and emotional visits to mass graves. An estimated 230-thousand people were killed or disappeared when huge waves slammed into 12 countries around the Indian Ocean on December 26th, 2004. The tsunami was caused by a magnitude nine-point-zero earthquake under the ocean floor off Indonesia's Sumatra island.
UN-NORTH KOREA: Incoming U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is calling for patience in diplomatic efforts to halt North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Mr. Ban says it is regrettable that six-party talks held in Beijing last week failed to make progress in persuading Pyongyang to abandon nuclear weapons. But, he says the multilateral negotiating format should be maintained to try to resolve the dispute.
IRAQ: Iraqi security officials say a series of car bombings and roadside explosions across Baghdad today (Tuesday) killed at least 20 people and wounded many more. Officials say three near simultaneous car bombings occurred in a busy intersection in a western part of the capital. Other attacks took place in central and eastern parts of the city. Separately, Iraqi police say they have found the bodies of 40 more victims of apparent sectarian violence. Police said the bodies were recovered in and around Baghdad Monday, all had been shot dead and many showed signs of torture.
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