TURKEY - KURDS - IRAQ: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the United States, Turkey and Iraq will jointly counter Kurdish rebels launching attacks inside Turkey from their bases in northern Iraq. Speaking to reporters aboard a flight to Turkey today, Rice called the rebel Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, a "common enemy," and said the allies will work together to have an "effective" way of dealing with them. Rice also warned against any action that could destabilize the situation in northern Iraq. The top U.S. diplomat is to hold talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul in Ankara later today.
SRI LANKA: Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels say the head of the group's political wing has been killed in an airstrike. In a statement posted on the Internet, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam said Brigadier S.P Thamilselvan was killed when military jets bombed his residence in northern Kilinochchi district this morning. Earlier, military officials said the air force carried out two raids against the rebels, targeting a guerrilla base and a meeting of top leaders in a northern rebel-held region. In a separate Internet posting, the rebels claimed to have killed 25 soldiers and wounded more than 60 in a series of clashes with army troops Thursday.
PAKISTAN - VIOLENCE: An explosion in Pakistan's tribal region of North Waziristan has killed at least three people. Residents and local officials say a missile strike caused the blast on the outskirts of Miran Shah -- the main town in the troubled region along the border with Afghanistan. They say the blast destroyed a house that pro-Taliban militants were using as a hideout. Elsewhere in Pakistan, Islamic militants in the Swat Valley region of Northwest Frontier Province paraded 48 people in front of the media and identified them as government troops who surrendered during fierce fighting Thursday.
BURMA: Diplomats say Burma's military government is preparing to expel a United Nations official who has warned about deepening poverty in the country. The diplomats say the government is moving to expel the U.N. Development Program coordinator for Burma, Charles Petrie. The move comes ahead of a visit to Burma by U.N. special envoy Ibrahim Gambari, who is scheduled to arrive on Saturday in another bid to foster national reconciliation. It will be his second visit there since the military government cracked down on pro-democracy protests led by Buddhist monks in September.
NOKOR - NUCLEAR: The top U.S. negotiator on North Korea's nuclear program says sanctions will not be lifted until the North disables all its nuclear programs. Nuclear envoy Christopher Hill told reporters in Seoul today that a formal peace treaty to replace the armistice ending the Korean War 50 years ago and the lifting of UN sanctions will only happen after the North gets out of the nuclear business. Hill also said he expects North Korea to hand over a full list of all its nuclear programs within weeks. A team of U.S. experts is now in North Korea to begin disabling the country's nuclear facilities as part of a disarmament agreement.
IRAN - NUCLEAR: The five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany will meet today to discuss possible new sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program. Representatives from Russia, China, France, Britain and the United States, as well as Germany, are gathering in London for the talks. China and Russia have opposed calls for tougher U.N. sanctions on Iran. Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier says his nation has not ruled out the possibility of pursuing European or U.N. sanctions if Iran does not suspend its uranium enrichment activities.
WORLD MARKETS DECLINE: Japan's benchmark stock index dropped today in reaction to Thursday's major selloffs in the United States and Europe. Tokyo's Nikkei index dropped 353 points, or two percent, to close at 16-thousand-517. Markets in China, South Korea, and Singapore also lost two percent. Markets in Hong Kong and Taiwan lost more than three percent by the close of today's trading. European markets were also lower during midday trading. World markets are shaken by the Dow Jones 360 point drop on Thursday, after key analysts downgraded ratings on Citigroup and Bank of America, the top two U.S. banks.
RWANDA - GENOCIDE: Two international human rights groups say Rwandan genocide suspects should be not be tried in Rwanda until the country can demonstrate it can conduct fair trials. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International issued their statements in response to requests from Rwandan officials and international prosecutors to transfer genocide suspects to Rwanda for trial. The U.N.-backed International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda - based in Tanzania - is charged with trying the masterminds of Rwanda's 1994 genocide.
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