LEBANON: Lebanese authorities say fighting has resumed between government troops and Islamists entrenched in a Palestinian refugee camp near the northern city of Tripoli. Smoke could be seen billowing today in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, as soldiers shelled Fatah al-Islam positions. Military officials say at least two soldiers were killed during the night, bringing military fatalities to about 40. Since fighting erupted last month, around 100 people have been killed. On Friday, three Lebanese troops and an unknown number of Islamic militants were killed in the fighting.
SOMALIA - US: Officials in Somalia say U.S. naval warships have
bombarded a remote coastal village where suspected Islamist insurgents had set up a base. The attack happened Friday night when a Navy destroyer opened fire around the village of Bargal, located in northern Somalia's semi-autonomous region of Puntland. Officials say the extremists arrived in Bargal earlier this week, then fought with troops from the region. A U.S. Department of Defense spokesman would not confirm or deny the report. He would only say the United States remains committed to reducing terrorist capabilities when it finds them.
IRAQ: Coalition Forces in Iraq say they have killed one terrorist and detained eight suspected terrorists, including an alleged senior leader of the al-Qaida in Iraq group. A military statement says one of the detainees captured today during a raid in Hit is suspected to be a militant who works with high-level al-Qaida operatives in Anbar province. Meanwhile, Sunni gunmen and al-Qaida militants have engaged in several days of battles in the predominantly Sunni Amiriya neighborhood of Baghdad, resulting in numerous casualties.
ASIA - SECURITY MEETING: U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates
is calling on Asian nations to boost regional cooperation to defeat global terrorism threats. Speaking today at the annual Sangri-la Dialogue security conference in Singapore, Gates brought up a number of international security concerns. On Iran, he noted that the general view of American intelligence is that Tehran will be in a position to develop a nuclear device sometime between 2010 and 2015. Gates added that the international community must do more to make sure Afghanistan does not slip back into chaos.
UN - NORTH KOREA: A United Nations audit says its agencies operating in North Korea broke the U.N.'s own rules by paying salaries and local vendors' bills in hard currency. The report (released Friday) says U.N. agencies also hired staff in North Korea chosen by the Pyongyang government -- another violation of U.N. procedure. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he expects the U.N. Development Fund, UNICEF and the U.N. Population Fund to act quickly on problems identified by the audit. He also called for a visit to North Korea by the audit team (whose members came from France, South Africa and the Philippines).
JAPAN - NOKOR: Authorities in Japan say they are questioning four
people who arrived at a port in northern Japan on a boat believed to be from North Korea. Officials say a wooden boat entered Fukaura port in Aomori prefecture, carrying three men and woman believed to be from the same family. The Kyodo News Service is quoting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as saying that immigration authorities will take appropriate measures to handle the case. Thousands of North Koreans have fled their impoverished country to escape hunger and harsh political oppression in recent years, but it is rare for North Koreans to defect to Japan by ship.
CHINA - OBIT - HUANG: China says Vice Premier Huang Ju, the sixth highest ranking member in the Communist Party, has died. The state-run Xinhua news agency says Huang died in Beijing at the age of 68. Although it did not disclose the cause of death, widespread reports say he suffered from pancreatic cancer for more than a year. An obituary issued by the Chinese leadership called Huang a long-tested and faithful Communist fighter and an outstanding leader of the party and the state. Huang was a key ally of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin. He rose to the Communist Party's inner sanctum of power, the Politburo Standing Committee, in 2002.
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