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Violence Between Palestinian Factions Wounds 8, Hours After Ceasefire Announced


PALESTINIAN VIOLENCE: Violence between Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah has erupted again, just hours after the latest ceasefire announcement. Members of the rival factions clashed overnight Friday and today (Saturday) in the Gaza Strip. Hospital officials say at least eight people were wounded. The clashes broke out not long after a truce deal between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal was announced. At least 17 people were killed in clashes Friday before the ceasefire was approved.

NOKOR TALKS: The chief U.S. delegate to international talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear weapons program says steps toward that goal may come soon. Shortly after arriving in Seoul today (Saturday), U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said he was hopeful about prospects for next week's talks with North Korea. The United States wants to start implementing a September 2005 agreement in which North Korea agreed to end its nuclear program in return for aid and security guarantees.

PHILIPPINES-MILITANTS: A Philippine government delegation is not being allowed to leave the camp of a group of Muslim separatists in the southern Philippines, but it is not clear whether they are being held as hostages. Military sources report that Major-General Ben Dolorfino, Defense Undersecretary Ramon Santos and several other people did not leave the camp of a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front as scheduled. The delegation had traveled to Jolo island for talks with the group.

PHILIPPINES BLAST: Military officials in the Philippines say the death toll from a fuel truck explosion in the country's south has risen to 50, with more than 40 others injured. The truck exploded Friday on a road in Zamoanga del Sur province, destroying the tanker, as well as a passenger bus on the opposite side of the road. Soldiers are still recovering bodies.

INDONESIA FLOOD: Disaster relief officials in Indonesia say five people have been killed and 100-thousand left homeless after several days of torrential rains caused severe flooding in the country's capital. Officials say the devastation in Jakarta this week from flooding has been the worst in five years. Tens of thousands of people have been forced to evacuate. The floods have inundated thousands of homes and buildings in low-lying areas. The rail network has been crippled, and electricity has been shut off in several areas.

SUDAN-CHINA: Chinese President Hu Jintao is putting limited pressure on Sudan to accept U.N. peacekeepers in the war-torn Darfur region. Mr. Hu met with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in Sudan's capital Khartoum Friday. Chinese state media says Mr. Hu stressed that the United Nations and African Union have a role to play in resolving the conflict in Darfur. However, Mr. Hu also said any solution to the crisis must respect Sudan's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

BIRD FLU: Agriculture officials in Japan have confirmed another outbreak of the H5N1 strain of bird flu at a poultry farm in southern Japan. Today's (Saturday's) announcement marks Japan's fourth H5N1 outbreak incident this year, and the third to hit poultry farms in Miyazaki prefecture on the southern island of Kyushu. The European Commission has confirmed that an outbreak of bird flu at a turkey farm in southeast Britain is the deadly H5N1 strain of the disease.

BUSH-WAR BUDGET: he Bush administration will ask Congress for more than 240 billion dollars to cover the cost of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan for the next two fiscal years. Mr. Bush is seeking more than 90 billion dollars for the current fiscal year, to go along with the 70 billion dollars already approved by lawmakers. He will also ask for more than 140 billion dollars to cover war costs for fiscal year 2008, which begins October first. The money is separate from the 481 billion dollars the president will request for the military's regular 2008 budget.

IRAQ: The U.S. military says coalition forces in Iraq have killed four terrorists and detained 29 suspected terrorists during raids targeting foreign fighters and members of al-Qaida in Iraq. A military statement said today (Saturday) the early morning raids occurred in Fallujah and Ramadi in western al-Anbar province, and north of Baghdad in Kalar and Tarmiyah.

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