PERU EARTHQUAKE: Authorities in Peru say the death toll from Wednesday's devastating earthquake has risen to 510 people, while rescue workers struggle to reach hundreds of people trapped or stranded in the rubble. The magnitude-eight (8.0) quake destroyed or damaged scores of homes and other buildings, especially in Peru's southern coastal region. The number of injured from the quake now stands at more than 15-hundred. Multiple casualties are feared in the town of Pisco, where a church roof collapsed during a crowded religious service. Wednesday was a Roman Catholic holy day.
AFGHANISTAN - VIOLENCE: Afghan police say a suicide bomber has killed a district chief and three of his children in the southern city of Kandahar. They say the bomber detonated his explosives today at the home of the chief of Kandahar's Zhari district. To the east, Afghan officials say five civilians were killed in a fight between NATO soldiers and Taleban fighters. They say the gunfight erupted after a NATO convoy hit a roadside bomb. On Thursday, U.S. and Afghan forces pressed on with an offensive against Taleban militants in Tora Bora, near the Pakistan border. Casualty figures have not been confirmed, but Afghan media report 50 militants have been killed.
AFGHAN HOSTAGES: Two South Korean hostages have returned home after being released by the Taleban in Afghanistan on Monday. The two women arrived at Seoul's Incheon airport today and headed to a hospital for medical checkups. They both said they are sorry for causing worry and called on the Taleban to free the remaining 19 South Korean hostages. Negotiations resumed Thursday between the Taleban and South Korean officials on the gaining the other hostages' release. Taleban militants abducted 23 South Korean Christian aid workers on July 19th while they traveled through Ghazni province on a humanitarian mission.
IRAQ: The U.S. military in Iraq says one U.S. soldier was killed and another wounded during a clash with insurgents holed up in a Sunni Arab mosque in Baghdad Province. East of Tarmiyah, coalition forces killed 13 terrorists and detained 12 suspects during an operation targeting an al-Qaida in Iraq cell leader. Troops detained 14 more suspected terrorists in other raids in central and northern Iraq since Thursday. In other developments, Iraqi Shi'ite and Kurdish lawmakers have formed a new political alliance to try to shore up Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's shaky government. But the alliance does not include Sunni Arab factions.
NOKOR FLOODS: South Korea has announced it is sending seven-and-a-half million dollars worth of emergency aid to North Korea to help the country recover from devastating floods. Unification Minister Lee Jae-Joung called the damage from recent North Korean flooding "heartbreaking," and said Seoul's aid was an extension of its "humanitarianism and brotherly love." Lee said today South Korea's assistance would include instant noodles, drinking water, powdered milk, blankets and medicine. The aid will be sent to North Korea next week.
NOKOR - NUCLEAR: The top U.S. nuclear envoy says technical discussions on shutting down North Korea's nuclear program have made progress, but that more work is needed. During a second day of six-nation meetings in northeastern China today, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said there is a lot more to discuss before the parties can reach a common understanding on North Korea's disarmament. The talks are being held in the Chinese city of Shenyang and are expected to lay the groundwork for a September meeting of the six countries (, North and South Korea, China, Japan, Russia, and the United States).
US - MINE COLLAPSE: Three rescue workers have been killed at a mine in (the western U.S. state of) Utah where six miners have been trapped for more than a week. Six other rescuers were injured late Thursday during rescue efforts at the Crandall Canyon Mine near the town of Huntington. Authorities say the workers were hurt during a so-called mountain "bump," which refers to an eruption of rock and coal inside the mine Rescuers have been frantically trying to reach the six miners who have been trapped since a cave-in on August sixth. The fate of the six is not known.
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