BURMA POL: Burma's military leaders have extended the detention of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and arrested more than a dozen members of her political party. Several Burmese officials visited the Nobel laureate's home today to deliver the news. It was not immediately clear whether the extension was for six months or a year. The announcement comes just hours before her latest house arrest was due to expire at midnight today. The 62-year-old opposition leader has been under house arrest continuously since May 2003, and for more than 12 of the last 18 years.
BURMA: Aid agencies continue to send some relief teams into cyclone-hit areas of Burma today, after the military government pledged at a donors' conference Sunday to allow aid workers unrestricted access. It has been more than three weeks since Cyclone Nargis hit Burma's agricultural region, leaving at least 134-thousand people dead or missing. Although the United Nations says three out of four survivors have yet to receive any form of relief assistance, the Burmese government says the emergency relief effort is over, and has requested 11 billion dollars for reconstruction.
CHINA QUAKE: Chinese state media say emergency workers are trying to evacuate another 80 thousand people from below a dangerously-swelling lake that was formed by earthquake-triggered landslides. The official Xinhua news agency said today that about 70 thousand people have already been evacuated from their homes near the so-called "quake lake" in Beichuan county of Sichuan province. Xinhua says the evacuation must be carried out by midnight, before soldiers dynamite the banks of the new lake for a controlled releases of some of the water.
CHINA SCHOOLS: Chinese parents who lost children in the earthquake that hit Sichuan province are calling on the government to investigate why nearly seven-thousand schools were destroyed when other buildings were not. Shoddy construction has been blamed for the collapse of thousands of schools during the massive May 12th quake. China's government has not said how many of the earthquake's more than 65-thousand victims were children. In hard-hit Mianyang city, some 13-hundred people died or went missing when a middle school collapsed in the quake.
AFGHAN - VIOLENCE: Afghan officials say eight civilians and four policemen have died in two separate roadside bombings in Afghanistan. Authorities say the civilians were killed today when a bomb hit their bus in the Delaram district of Farah province. The western province borders Iran and is a common target for insurgents fighting Afghan soldiers and their Western allies. Officials say the four Afghan policemen were killed in Logar province, south of Kabul, when a roadside bomb hit their vehicle today. Also in Logar, hundreds of protesters blocked a highway after foreign troops killed a religious teacher in an overnight raid.
SOMALIA - PIRACY: Somali pirates have hijacked a Dutch-owned ship with a crew of nine Russians and Filipinos aboard as it traveled from Kenya to Romania. Officials say the pirates seized the MV Amiya Scan, owned by the Dutch company Reider Shipping BV, Monday night. There has been no information about ransom demands or the condition of the crew. On Friday, Somali pirates released a Jordanian-flagged ship and its crew, six days after capturing the vessel. Pirate attacks are common in the mostly unregulated waters off Somalia's coast. The country lacks a strong central government, allowing pirates to operate almost freely.
ISRAEL - OMERT: A U.S. businessman has told Israeli prosecutors he gave large sums of money to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, but never expected any favors in return. The deposition Morris Talansky gave in a Jerusalem court today is part of an investigation into claims Mr. Olmert accepted illegal campaign contributions or bribes for political favors. Talansky said he gave Mr. Olmert tens of thousands of dollars over several years, before Mr. Olmert became prime minister in 2006. He said Mr. Olmert always insisted on cash, not checks. Talansky said the money came from his own account and from fund-raising events, and was delivered during meetings in New York and Jerusalem.
CARTER - ISRAEL NUCLEAR: Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has revealed that Israel has at least 150 nuclear weapons -- a rare disclosure from a past or current U.S. official about the nuclear status of the Jewish state. Mr. Carter spoke on Sunday at a news conference in Wales, where he was asked how a future U.S. president should deal with the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran. The former president responded by saying that the United States, Israel and other powers have enormous nuclear arsenals that can be deployed with pinpoint accuracy.
MARS PROBE: U.S. space agency officials say they are analyzing photos taken by the newly landed Mars explorer, as the probe prepares to begin its mission to see whether the Red Planet ever had conditions favorable to sustaining life. NASA scientists said at a Monday news conference that they are certain there is frozen water just below the surface of the flat polar region where the Phoenix Mars lander touched down on Sunday. After several more days of checking the spacecraft's systems, the probe will use its robotic arm to dig into the ground and analyze samples of soil and subsurface ice.
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