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Somalia: US Warplanes Strike Suspected al-Qaida Hideouts in South of Country


SOMALIA: Somalia's government says U.S. warplanes have carried out air strikes on suspected al-Qaida hideouts in the south of the country, killing an unknown number of people. Somali officials say American gunships raided several sites Monday, including Ras Kamboni in the southern tip of Somalia, along the Kenyan border. They say the air strikes targeted al-Qaida's top East Africa commander and suspects in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The officials could not confirm whether the terrorists were killed.

IRAQ: Iraqi police say a fierce gun battle raged in central Baghdad today (Tuesday). Police say the fighting erupted when gunmen attacked an Iraqi army checkpoint in the Haifa Street area, which is a known stronghold of Sunni insurgents. Authorities say U.S. troops joined the fighting when Iraqi forces called for help. The U.S. military says the operation in continuing.

NORTH KOREA: The commander of U.S. forces in South Korea says North Korea is likely to test another nuclear device. General Burwell Bell told reporters today (Tuesday) that since North Korea has tested one device, there is no reason to believe they will not test another when it serves their purpose. North Korea detonated a nuclear bomb underground in October, triggering international condemnation and U.N. sanctions.

JAPAN DEFENSE: Japan has formally upgraded its defense agency to a full ministry as part of its bid to play a more assertive role in global security affairs. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says the move is a major step toward building a new Japan as the country evolves from its post-war system of government. Mr. Abe inaugurated the Defense Ministry at a ceremony today (Tuesday) in Tokyo attended by the new defense minister, Fumio Kyuma, who was elevated from the post of defense agency director-general.

THAILAND-ECONOMY: Thailand's military-backed government says it has approved in principle proposed amendments to rules controlling foreign ownership of Thai businesses. For decades, foreign companies have operated in Thailand by having locals hold a majority of shares in the company, while foreigners controlled the activities. Members of the foreign business community say the new regulations could force them to leave Thailand and further destabilize the Thai economy.

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