IRAN - BRITAIN: Iranian television has broadcast footage of three of 15 detained British sailors, and said one of them had confessed to illegally entering Iranian waters in the northern Persian Gulf last week. The footage carried by Iran's state-run Arabic-language Al-Alam television today showed a male British sailor apologizing for entering Iranian waters without permission.
IRAQ: Iraqi authorities say nearly 130 people
were killed Thursday when suicide bombers struck Shi'ite areas of Baghdad and a northern town. Officials say police also found scores of bodies. The deadliest attack took place in a popular market in Baghdad's Shaab district, where two suicide bombers blew themselves up.
ISRAEL - ARABS: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says he is ready to hold talks with Saudi Arabia and other moderate Arab states and believes that a comprehensive peace with Arabs and the Palestinians is within reach. In interviews with major Israeli newspapers, Mr. Olmert said the peace plan the Arab League endorsed Thursday could create a positive climate for negotiations.
SOMALIA: Eyewitnesses in Somalia's capital say an Ethiopian military helicopter has been hit by a missile during another day of fighting between Islamic insurgents and Ethiopian troops backing the interim Somali government. The helicopter was firing on a suspected insurgent stronghold today in Mogadishu when it was hit.
SOUTH KOREA - US - TRADE: Free trade talks between the United States and South Korea are coming down to the wire today, with the presidents of both countries urging negotiators to reach an agreement. South Korean officials say U.S. President Bush and President Roh Moo-hyun spoke by phone Thursday.
JAPAN MISSILE: Japan is installing its first advanced Patriot missile defense system at a
military base near Tokyo. The launchers are being deployed today a year ahead of schedule and follows North Korean missile and nuclear tests last year. The short range surface-to-air missiles would be used to protect metropolitan Tokyo if interceptors fired from U.S. or Japanese ships failed to knock down incoming missiles.
RUSSIA CONSTITUTION: A top Russian lawmaker has proposed scrapping the two-term limit on the country's presidency - a change that could allow President Vladimir Putin to run in next year's election. The speaker of the upper house of parliament, Sergei Mironov, said today the constitution should be revised to give presidents three consecutive terms in office.
VIETNAM - TRIAL: A court in Vietnam has sentenced a dissident Catholic priest to eight years in prison for engaging in anti-government activities. Following a one-day trial in the central city of Hue today, the court found Father Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly guilty of trying to undermine the country's Communist party. Ly was also accused of plotting to establish a political party.
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