IRAQ: The U.S. military in Iraq says Iraqi and coalition forces have detained a suspected terrorist cell leader and killed at least five insurgents during raids in Baghdad's Shi'ite district of Sadr City. A military statement said the person detained today is believed to be the suspected leader of a cell known for facilitating the transport of weapons and explosives from Iran as well as bringing militants from Iraq to Iran for training. Separately, U.S-led forces said they killed two terrorists, detained 23 suspected insurgents and destroyed a cache of explosives during operations today against al-Qaida in Iraq, southwest of Taji.
US CONGRESS - IRAQ: President Bush says he is pleased to sign a bill that provides 100 billion dollars to pay for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan through September. The president signed the bill Friday at his Camp David retreat outside Washington. The U.S. Congress passed the bill Thursday after several weeks of negotiations with the White House. Congressional Democrats dropped their demands to include a timeline to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.
ISRAEL - PALESTINIANS: Palestinian officials say Israel has launched new air strikes against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, killing at least four people and wounding about 10. Israeli forces also arrested a Hamas cabinet minister in the occupied West Bank - part of a continuing crackdown against Hamas for launching rockets into Israel. Palestinian officials said the cabinet minister, Wasfi Kabaha, was arrested before dawn today in his home near the town of Jenin.
BURMA - AUNGSAN SUU KYI: The United States and the European Union have joined other countries and human rights groups in condemning Burma's decision to extend the house arrest for democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi for another year. In Washington, the State Department urged coordinated international pressure on the Burmese military leaders and called the extension "unfortunate" and "condemnable." The current European Union president, Germany, said it deeply condemns the move by Burma's rulers.
CHINA BIRD FLU: China's state-run media say a 19-year-old Chinese soldier has been hospitalized with bird flu. It is not immediately clear if the soldier has been infected with the often deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu. Fifteen people have died in China since the outbreak in 2003. Worldwide, the virus has killed 186 people, mostly in Southeast Asia. The virus is mainly passed on to humans through contact with infected poultry.
CHINA - JAPAN - GAS: Chinese and Japanese officials have wrapped up the latest round of talks on a long-standing dispute over drilling rights in the East China Sea, with no apparent progress reached on the issue. The head negotiators from the two countries held the one-day talks Friday in Beijing. China's Xinhua news agency quotes China's Foreign Ministry as saying the discussions were in-depth and conducive. The ministry said the next round of talks would be held in late June.
THAI PM - ROBBERY: A Russian newspaper says former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has been robbed while visiting Moscow to receive an honorary degree. The daily Kommersant reported Friday the Thai politician and his bodyguard were eating at a local McDonald's restaurant on May 21st when his briefcase, containing a large amount of money, passport and other belongings, disappeared. According to the newspaper, Moscow police launched an investigation.
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