IRAQ: U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon is in Iraq for talks with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Mr. Ban arrived in Baghdad today (Thursday) on a previously unannounced visit. Meanwhile, the U.S. military in Iraq says coalition forces freed three hostages and detained 13 suspected terrorists in raids across the country (today / Thursday). The military also announced the deaths of three more American troops -- one Marine and two soldiers -- who were killed Wednesday in combat operations in Baghdad and Al Anbar province.
SOMALIA: Hundreds of Somalis are fleeing their homes in Mogadishu, and witnesses say fighting between insurgents and Ethiopian and Somali forces is spreading to new parts of the capital (today/Thursday). Doctors and witnesses say at least 22 people were killed on Wednesday. Another 92 people, most of them civilians, were wounded by stray bullets and artillery.
US-CHINA-MILITARY: The United States' top general, Peter Pace, is in Beijing for talks on expanding relations with China's military. The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff arrived in the Chinese capital today (Thursday) and met his Chinese counterpart, General Liang Guanglie. Pace said before the meeting he hopes the two sides can boost cooperation and mutual understanding. Liang said he wants to increase military exchanges with the United States.
AUSTRALIA-SINGAPORE: Academics at one of the world's top universities in Australia are protesting its plan to award an honorary doctorate to Singapore's former prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew. They say Lee's three decades of authoritarian rule (from 1959 to 1990) and stifling of free expression disqualifiy him from such an award by the Australian National University.
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