IRAQ-SADDAM: Lawyers for Saddam Hussein say the U.S. military has asked them to pick up the personnel effects of the former Iraqi dictator, amid reports his execution could take place within days. Saddam's chief defense attorney (Khalil al-Dulaimi) also said he had no information on when his client would be handed over to Iraqi authorities. Iraqi officials say he remains in U.S. custody. Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said there will be no delay in executing the deposed leader and that those who oppose the sentence were insulting the memory of his victims.
SOMALIA: Somalia's interim Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi is expected to enter the capital Mogadishu today (Friday), a day after Islamist forces abandoned the city. Mr. Gedi said his government now has the difficult task of rebuilding the lawless city and restoring security. He met Thursday with local clan leaders outside the capital to discuss the city's handover. Islamist fighters left their posts as government forces advanced on the city Thursday after a week of fighting.
GERALD FORD: Five days of memorial services for former U.S. President Gerald Ford begin today (Friday) in California. The body of Mr. Ford, who died Tuesday at the age of 93, will lie in repose at a church near his home of Rancho Mirage. After a private service for the family, the public will be allowed to view the casket until Saturday. The late president's body will then be flown to Washington to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol. A state funeral will be held Saturday evening, followed by a funeral service at the National Cathedral in Washington on Tuesday.
KOREA-NUCLEAR: South Korea's Defense Ministry is calling North Korea
a "serious threat" to South Korea, saying it may have the capacity to produce at least five nuclear weapons. In a white paper it publishes every two years, the Defense Ministry says it believes North Korea has about 50 kilograms of plutonium -- 30 kilograms of it obtained during the past three years.
THAILAND UNREST: Authorities in Thailand say suspected insurgents
have killed two Buddhist teachers in the restive south. Officials say the two teachers were ambushed in their pickup truck today (Friday), around 300 meters from the school where they taught in Yala province. Authorities say the suspected insurgents fatally shot the teachers, then burned their bodies. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
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