TURKEY - HIJACK: Turkish officials say two men who hijacked a plane flying from northern Cyprus to Istanbul, Turkey have surrendered. The men hijacked the plane early today and demanded to be taken to Iran or Syria. Turkish authorities say one of the hijackers is Turkish and the other is Syrian. Earlier, Turkish Cypriot authorities identified them as Iranians. The plane landed at Antalya Airport on the Turkish Mediterranean coast for refueling and most of the 136 passengers on board were released or escaped. The hijackers surrendered after freeing the remaining passengers and crew.
AFGHANISTAN VIOLENCE: Afghan police say at least 15 people have been killed in a suicide bomb attack targeting a private U.S. security firm in southern Kandahar province. Authorities say at least 11 civilians and four Afghan security guards were killed in the blast today. At least 26 people were wounded. On Friday, Afghan police said a suicide bomber killed a district chief and three of his children in Kandahar. They say the bomber detonated his explosives at the home of the chief of Kandahar's Zhari district. Violence has surged in Afghanistan over the past year and half as suspected Taleban militants have stepped up suicide attacks and roadside bombings.
IRAQ: The U.S. military in Iraq says coalition forces have killed two terrorists during an operation targeting al-Qaida in Iraq leaders and the group's bombing network. It says 16 suspected terrorists were also detained during today's raids in central and northern Iraq. Separately, in the northern oil city of Kirkuk, Iraqi police say bomb blasts killed four people and wounded 34 others. In other developments, a top U.S. commander in Iraq says the U.S. and Iraqi military are focusing on a series of quick strikes against insurgent targets in Iraq. Lieutenant General Ray Odierno also said there may be a drawdown of U.S. troops in Iraq starting next April, depending on the security situation.
US - IRAQ: "The New York Times" is reporting that the Bush administration will present a plan to gradually reduce the U.S. troop presence in Iraq beginning next year. The "Times" says the White House will use next month's assessment about the progress in Iraq to unveil the plan. But the report says the reductions will fall far short of the drawdown demanded by congressional opponents of the war. Quoting anonymous administration officials, the newspaper says the administration will argue that the troop increase ordered by President Bush has succeeded in improving the security situation in Iraq, and has established the conditions for a new approach that will lead to troop cuts.
INTERPOL - SADDAM DAUGHTER: The international police organization INTERPOL has issued a warrant for Raghad Saddam Hussein, the oldest daughter of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. The warrant, circulated Friday, says Hussein is accused of terrorism and other offenses. Last year, Hussein was included on a list of Iraq's most wanted fugitives. She took a leading role in organizing her father's legal defense. Raghad Hussein was reportedly seen in public on December 31st in Amman, Jordan, at a rally protesting her father's execution. Her current whereabouts are unknown.
PERU - EARTHQUAKE: The U.S. Geological Survey says another strong aftershock hit Peru today, as relief workers struggle to help the victims of Wednesday's earthquake that left at least 510 people dead. The magnitude five-point-nine aftershock occurred near the coast of central Peru, more than 200 kilometers southeast of the capital of Lima. The South American nation has been struck by several aftershocks since the magnitude-eight quake, which caused widespread damage and destruction along its central coast. Some 15-hundred people were injured, and thousands left homeless and in desperate need of food and medical attention.
KOREAS - SUMMIT - FLOODS: North and South Korea have agreed to postpone until early October a summit between the two countries because of flooding that has devastated the impoverished North. A South Korean presidential spokesman says Seoul has accepted North Korea's proposal to delay the three day summit until October second. South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun was originally scheduled to visit Pyongyang to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il on August 28th. North and South Korea last held a summit 2000, their first since the Korean War ended in an armistice in 1953.
CHINA - MINE: Rescue workers in eastern China are battling to reach 172 coal miners trapped in a mine after heavy rain caused a river to burst through a levee and inundate the shaft. China's official Xinhua news agency 756 miners were underground when the water swept into the mine Friday in Shandong province's Xintai city. Five-hundred-84 miners have been rescued. Wan Ziqi, director of the Shandong coal mine safety administration, told Xinhua that there was little chance of finding the trapped miners alive. Xinhua says about two-thousand troops, armed police and miners have closed up a 20-meter section of the breached levee of the Wen river.
PHILIPPINES - VIOLENCE: Philippine military officials say 13 troops and about 30 Muslim extremists were killed in clashes in the southern Philippines. Officials say fighting erupted after government forces launched an attack on a Abu Sayyaf rebel camp outside the town of Ungkaya Pukan on Basilan island. It was one of the bloodiest clashes on Basilan since 14 marines were killed in an ambush last month. The United States considers Abu Sayyaf a terrorist group with ties to the radical Jemaah Islamiyah organization. Philippine forces have been on the offensive against Abu Sayyaf since 2005, fighting primarily on Jolo.
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