PALESTINIANS-VIOLENCE: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called for the immediate implementation of the government's security plan to halt continuing fighting in the Gaza Strip between his Fatah faction and Hamas. The plan calls for rival security forces to operate under a joint command. Mr. Abbas urged the factions to "fully safeguard calm" so that Palestinians can focus on reform and development, and reduce poverty.
IRAQ: An al-Qaida-led militant group has demanded the United States call off its search for three U.S. soldiers abducted in Iraq, if the servicemen are to remain safe. The "Islamic State of Iraq" issued its demand in an Internet posting Monday and said it is holding the soldiers. The group has claimed responsibility for an attack Saturday south of Baghdad that killed four U.S. troops and led to the disappearance of the three others. They have been missing since. The U.S. military said Monday it believes al-Qaida in Iraq or an affiliated group abducted the soldiers.
TAIWAN-MILITARY: Taiwan conducted a series of military exercises today (Tuesday) to train for a hypothetical attack from mainland China. The exercises began in the morning with the landing of six fighter jets on a highway in Changhua county in central Taiwan. The jets, including U.S.-made F-16s and Indigenous Defense Fighters, landed on the highway, refueled and re-armed, and then took off to face another wave of imagined attackers from the mainland. The event is part of the annual Hankuang military exercises. Exercises are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. China and Taiwan split in 1949 at the end of a civil war, but China still claims sovereignty over the island.
MALAYSIA-MAHATHIR: Health officials in Malaysia say former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is in stable condition but remains hospitalized after experiencing breathing difficulties. The 81-year old former leader was admitted to a hospital on the resort island of Langkawi on Monday. The former leader was transferred today (Tuesday) to a heart hospital in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, after doctors expressed satisfaction with his progress.
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