PAKISTAN - BHUTTO: Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has condemned as "a conspiracy against democracy" the bombings in Karachi that killed at least 133 people and narrowly missed former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, hours after she returned from self-exile Thursday. President Musharraf appealed for calm and promised a thorough investigation into the twin bombings that shattered Ms. Bhutto's homecoming procession shortly after midnight (local time). Authorities say 290 people were wounded in the attacks.
BHUTTO - REACT: World leaders have condemned the attacks
targeting a convoy carrying former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in Karachi. A U.S. National Security Council spokesman said the United States mourns "the loss of innocent life," but that "extremists will not stop Pakistanis from selecting their representatives through an open and democratic process." Separately, the U.S. State Department said Washington stands with the people of Pakistan, adding there is no political cause that can justify the murder of innocent people.
ASIA - MANHUNT: Police in Thailand say they have arrested a suspected Canadian pedophile who has been the target of a global manhunt. Authorities say the suspect, 32-year-old Christopher Paul Neil, was arrested today in northeastern Thailand. The international police force, Interpol, had earlier issued the highest form of international alert -- a so-called "red notice" -- for Neil, who is accused of molesting young boys in Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. Thai police also had issued an arrest warrant after a boy in Thailand accused Neil of sexual abuse. Neil fled South Korea last week after Interpol began circulating his photo.
INDONESIA - VOLCANO: The United Nations says hundreds of aid
workers and medical supplies have been mobilized in eastern Java in anticipation of a major eruption at one of Indonesia's deadliest volcanos. On Tuesday Indonesian authorities raised its alert level at Mount Kelud to its highest level, meaning that an explosion is imminent, and ordered the evacuation of 116-thousand people from nearby villages. U.N. officials say the World Health Organization has activated 100 medics, put 200 health facilities on alert and established 41 outbreak health posts.
PHILIPPINE BLAST: A powerful bomb has rocked a crowded shopping mall in Manila's financial district, killing eight people and injuring 70 others. Police say the blast today at the Glorietta shopping center in the Makati business district caused extensive damage, toppling roofs, destroying walls and sending debris crashing onto cars outside. Authorities initially said a gas cylinder caused the explosion, but later discounted that statement and now say bomb squad teams are investigating. No one has claimed responsibility for the explosion.
VIETNAM - FLOODS: Officials in Vietnam say floods
have killed at least 13 people and left four others missing. Authorities say water levels of rivers in central Vietnam are slowly receding, and aid workers are beginning to distribute rice to help people affected by the floods. The latest floods come as Vietnam is still recovering from floods and landslides triggered by Typhoon Lekima that killed at least 88 people.
DARFUR - CHINA: International activists working to end the conflict in Darfur are calling on China to stop selling weapons to Sudan. The Save Darfur Coalition said in a new report (Thursday) that China is trying to have it both ways by making some efforts to ease the crisis in Darfur, while also continuing to arm Sudan's government. The (Washington, D.C.-based) group says China's stance is ambiguous and sends mixed signals. The group says China should instead capitalize on its unique economic position with Sudan to pressure Khartoum to admit U.N. peacekeepers, in a bid to help end the violence in Darfur.
TURKEY - IRAQ - KURDS: U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates
says the United States would consider direct action to deter Kurdish insurgents in northern Iraq from attacking Turkey. Speaking at the Pentagon Thursday, Gates said both the United States and Iraq are "prepared to do the appropriate thing" if they receive specific information about Kurdish guerrilla activity aimed at Turkey. He did not explain his comments in greater detail, but said the United States is determined to help reduce the threat Turkey faces from the Kurdish Workers Party (or PKK).
EU SUMMIT: European Union leaders at a summit in Lisbon approved a new treaty today to replace the draft EU constitution that French and Dutch voters rejected in 2005. Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, told reporters that Europe is stronger for overcoming the institutional impasse. Leaders of the 27 member nations met late Thursday and into Friday's early morning hours before reaching agreement. Going into the talks, Italy opposed a proposed redistribution of European Parliament seats that would have reduced Italy's delegation by six seats.
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