ISRAEL - PALESTINIANS: The Israeli military has carried out more air strikes on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip amid continuing rocket attacks on Israel. Palestinian medics say at least four people were killed and several others wounded in one Israeli air strike east of Gaza City early today. Witnesses say three of the dead were Hamas militants. Hamas militants also fired rockets at southern Israel today, causing some injuries but no deaths.
INDIA - BLAST: Indian authorities say a bomb blast at a crowded mosque has killed at least five people and wounded more than 20 others in southern Andhra Pradesh state. Police say the explosion occurred as thousands of worshippers were leaving Friday prayers at the historic Mecca Masjid mosque in the city of Hyderabad, which has a large Muslim population. Authorities say the death toll could rise because a number of victims suffered severe injuries.
INDIA - HEATWAVE: People in India are struggling under a deadly heatwave. At least 100 people have died from heat-related causes. At least 35 deaths have been reported in the eastern state of Orissa since the beginning of May. In the capital city of New Delhi, temperatures hit a record of 43 degrees Celsius Wednesday. Soaring heat has also affected the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, killing street children and the elderly.
WORLD BANK WOLFOWITZ: Several names have been mentioned as possible successors to Paul Wolfowitz, who has resigned as president of the World Bank. Wolfowitz quit Thursday after an internal bank probe concluded he broke ethics rules in arranging for a lucrative promotion at the U.S. State Department for his companion, bank employee Shaha Riza. The White House says President Bush will move quickly to name a candidate for the post.
PHILIPPINES - VIOLENCE: An explosion in a bus terminal in the southern Philippines has killed three people, including a young child, and wounded about 27 people. Police say a home-made bomb ripped through the terminal today in Cotabato, a city on the island of Mindanao. Several of the casualties are children. Police say they suspect Islamic extremists are behind the attack. Earlier this month, eight people were killed when a bomb ripped through a billiard hall in Tacurong City in nearby Sultan Kudarat province.
US - BURMA SANCTIONS: President Bush says he is renewing sanctions on Burma for at least another year, and at the same time calling again for the immediate release of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners in the southeast Asian nation. White House spokesman Tony Snow said in a statement on Thursday that Burma's ruling junta is becoming more brutal, more repressive and more indifferent to the concerns of its neighbors and the international community.
BURMA - ASEAN - RIGHTS: A group of lawmakers representing countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations is demanding that Burma release pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi when her house arrest term expires. The Association's Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus, in a statement issued today, expressed concern that authorities will extend the Nobel Peace Prize laureate's house arrest when her current term comes up for review May 27th.
US - FORCED LABOR: A federal judge in (in the northeastern U.S. state of) New York has set more than three million dollars in bail for a wealthy couple accused of enslaving two Indonesian women in their home for more than five years. Prosecutors say Varsha Mehander Sabhnani and her husband, Mahender, seized the women's visas after they arrived in the United States in 2002 to work in the home as domestics. They say the couple forced the women to work long hours with little sleep or food, barred them from leaving the house and physically abused them.
KAZAKHSTAN POL: Lawmakers in Kazakhstan have voted to allow President Nursultan Nazarbayev to stay in office for an unlimited number of terms. Both the upper and lower houses of parliament today voted overwhelmingly in favor of amending the constitution to let Mr. Nazarbayev remain president as long as he chooses. The legislation now goes to the president for his approval. Mr. Nazarbayev has ruled Kazakhstan since 1989, and led the country to independence in 1991 when the Soviet Union broke up.
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