SOMALIA PIRATES: A U.N.-chartered cargo ship seized by pirates off the coast of Somalia has been released after nearly a month in captivity. A spokesman for the Seafarers' Assistance Program says the M.V. Rozen was freed on Friday, and its 12 crew members are unharmed. Pirates seized control of the vessel February 25th, soon after it delivered more than 24-hundred tons of food to the Somali port of Bassasao.
ISRAEL - PALESTINIANS: Palestinian witnesses say Israeli helicopters have carried out an air strike along the border with the Gaza Strip, killing a Palestinian militant and wounding two others. An Israeli army spokesman says the helicopters opened fire early today after spotting militants trying to plant a bomb near the border fence. Militants identified the dead man as a member of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
IRAQ: Iraq's foreign minister says a ministerial meeting between Iraq, its neighbors and world powers will be held in Egypt during the first week of May. Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said today that the ministerial meeting was very important, and he hoped it would lead to dialogue between regional and international powers on stabilizing the country.
IRAN - BRITAIN: British naval personnel held captive by Iran say they were blindfolded, aggressively interrogated and kept in solitary confinement during their two-week ordeal. The leader of the group, Royal Navy Lieutenant Felix Carman, told a news conference in Britain Friday that the 15 captives faced constant psychological pressure from their captors.
NORTH KOREA TALKS: A State Department official says the United States has found a way to keep North Korea's nuclear disarmament talks on track, settling a dispute over 25 million dollars of Pyongyang's money. A State Department spokesman told reporters Friday that it took two weeks of talks between U.S. Treasury Department officials, North Korea, and others in Beijing to work out an agreement.
WORLD HEALTH DAY: The World Health Organization is urging greater cooperation among nations to tackle the growing number of cross-border threats to public health. To mark World Health Day today, the WHO issued a report that warns of emerging international threats to health security. The report says infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDs, Ebola, the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak in Asia, and human cases of the H5N1 bird flu have emerged in unprecedented numbers.
INDONESIA - BIRD FLU: Indonesia's Health Ministry says a 29- year-old man has died of bird flu, the latest victim in the country hardest-hit by the virus. The ministry said today that the human death toll from the virus now stands at 74. However, World Health Organization officials have only recorded 63 deaths. Indonesia only recently agreed to resume sharing its bird flu samples with the WHO, ending a four-month dispute.
THAILAND - YOUTUBE: Officials with the popular video-sharing Web site YouTube say they have offered to "educate" Thai authorities about how the service works, in the hopes of ending a ban on the site. The head of global communications for YouTube, Julie Supan, said today it is up to the Thai government to decide whether to block specific videos. But she says the government's technical team was having difficulty understanding how to block individual videos.
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