PAKISTAN: Aides say Pakistan's former prime minister and opposition leader Benazir Bhutto has been assassinated. Western and Pakistani news agencies said Ms. Bhutto died after sustaining injuries in a suicide attack at election rally near the capital, Islamabad. Ms. Bhutto had just addressed a gathering in a park in Rawalpindi, near the capital, Islamabad, when a blast went off. There were also reports of gunfire after the explosion, and some media reported Ms. Bhutto died of gunshot wounds to her neck. At least 15 other people were reported killed in the attack. Ms. Bhutto returned to Pakistan in October after eight years in exile. She escaped injury in a double suicide attack during her homecoming procession in Karachi that killed around 140 people. For months, Ms. Bhutto had been in talks with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf for a possible power-sharing deal, strongly favored by the United States. But talks had stalled and Ms. Bhutto was campaigning to run in general elections set for January eighth. Ms. Bhutto also sought to join forces with another former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, whose opposition party is also running in the upcoming elections.
Editor's Note: This news item was not in our broadcast because it happened after our airshow. Here are some of the news in our broadcast:
IRAQ: The U.S. military says coalition forces killed 11 suspected terrorists during an operation today southeast of Baghdad. The military says the operation in the town of Kut targeted "special groups" militants involved in attacks on coalition forces and their supporters. The term is used to describe Shi'ite fighters who have broken away from the Mahdi Army, controlled by radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Al-Sadr declared a ceasefire on attacks against U.S. and coalition forces back in August -- a decision many say has contributed to the dramatic drop of violence in Baghdad.
ISRAEL - PALESTINIANS: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meet today in Jerusalem to try to advance Mideast peace talks. The meeting between the two leaders is the first since the U.S.-sponsored peace conference in (the northeastern U.S. city/state of) Annapolis, Maryland last month, when they pledged to renew peace talks. Negotiators from the two sides met Monday. On the eve of today's meeting, an aide to Mr. Abbas said U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called the Palestinian leader to emphasize U.S. support for the talks.
THAILAND - POL: Officials in Thailand say ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra will be arrested on corruption and fraud charges if he returns to the country. A senior official at Thailand's Office of the Attorney General told reporters today that both Mr. Thaksin and his wife would be taken into custody if they return because warrants have already been issued for their arrest. The military-appointed government that succeeded Mr. Thaksin has launched several investigations into his alleged corruption. The official said the results of Sunday's elections and victory of the pro-Thaksin People's Power Party would have no bearing on legal cases against the former prime minister.
US - BURMA: Two U.S. senators say they will introduce legislation to award the Congressional Gold Medal to Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein (from California), who co-sponsored the bill, said Aung San Suu Kyi is an unrelenting force for change in Burma and is a woman of unrivaled courage. Republican Mitch McConnell (from Kentucky), who also sponsored the bill, says the Burmese opposition leader continues to sacrifice much in her struggle for democracy in Burma. The medal is the highest civilian honor bestowed by Congress.
BIRD FLU: Vietnam's health ministry has confirmed that bird flu has killed a four-year-old child in the country's north. The boy from the province of Son La tested positive for the H5N1 strain of bird flu after falling ill with flu-like symptoms. Relatives say he had eaten chicken meat and say some chickens had fallen ill around their home recently. This is the country's 47th death from the virus since late 2003. The case comes as other countries around the world are also detecting human infections. Wednesday, Egypt's health ministry says a 25-year old woman died from the H5N1 strain of bird flu.
VIETNAM FOOTBALL: Vietnam has made the rare move to grant citizenship to a foreign football (soccer) player. The move makes a Brazilian-born goalkeeper eligible to play for the national team. Vietnamese president Nguyen Minh Triet signed a directive on Tuesday granting citizenship to Fabio Dos Santos, a player with Dong Tam Long An in the topflight V-League. The 27-year-old Santos has played five years with the team. Each team in the 14-team V-League can register five foreign players. But teams can field only three at a time. Currently more than 100 foreign players, many from Thailand and African countries, play in the V-League and the first division.
JAPAN - CHINA - SUMMIT: Japan's Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda has arrived in China for a summit that he hopes will boost relations between the two Asian countries. Before departing today from Tokyo, Mr. Fukuda told reporters that he would do everything in his power to build a good relationship with China. Mr. Fukuda' is due to meet with Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and President Hu Jintao on Friday. He is also scheduled to deliver a speech at China's Peking University before returning to Japan on Sunday. In the meetings, he is expected to discuss a dispute with China over which nation has the right to drill for natural gas in disputed areas of seabed.
AFGHANISTAN: The Afghan government has expelled two senior diplomats from the United Nations and European Union after accusing them of holding unauthorized meetings with Taliban militants. EU and a U.N. officials confirmed that the two men left Afghanistan today after the government ordered their expulsion and said they were a threat to national security. EU and U.N. officials say the incident is a misunderstanding. On Tuesday, an Afghan spokesman declared the two officials persona non grata and gave them 48 hours to leave the country.
KENYA - ELECTIONS: Voting booths are open across Kenya for today's national elections. Scores of Kenyans began lining up at polling stations before dawn for the climax of a bitterly fought campaign pitting incumbent President Mwai Kibaki against challenger Raila Odinga. Kenyan broadcaster KTN and Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement party had accused the government of disguising police as party agents to carry out fraud at polling stations. Mr. Kibaki has denied the allegations. Three policemen were killed late Tuesday in the western province of Nyanza, where they were part of a deployment of officers to reinforce security ahead of the vote.
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