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Hurricane Ike Makes Landfall on Texas Coast


HURRICANE IKE: Hurricane Ike has made landfall in the U.S. city of Galveston, Texas, unleashing winds of up to 175 kilometers per hour and threatening to flood cities all along the Gulf of Mexico.Video footage early this morning showed large sections of Galveston underwater, with buildings and power lines coming down as heavy rains lashed the coast. The hurricane is also affecting Houston -- the nation's fourth-largest city.Forecasters say Texans on the coast can expect giant, battering waves and storm surge flooding of up to six meters.Officials in Galveston say tens of thousands of residents have refused to obey an evacuation order.

AFGHANISTAN: Afghan police say a remote-controlled bomb has killed the governor of Logar Province and three others.The Taliban says it was behind today's attack, which killed governor Abdullah Wardak, his driver and two bodyguards outside Kabul.Wardak is the second Afghan governor to be assassinated in recent years.On Friday, the governor of Farah province said 10 militants and five Afghan guards were killed when Taliban militants attacked a U.S. security firm convoy. Authorities believe three guards were abducted following the clash.And NATO says an alliance soldier was killed in Helmand province Friday.

GEORGIA - RUSSIA: Russian troops have withdrawn from key positions in western Georgia in accordance with a French-brokered deal.Georgian authorities confirmed today that Russian forces had left posts around the Black Sea port of Poti.Russia has agreed to remove the rest of its troops from Georgian territory other than those in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, where their troops are maintaining a security zone.Russian forces pushed into neighboring Georgia last month after the Georgian military tried to retake control of the breakaway region of South Ossetia.Following the conflict, Russia recognized the region and another breakaway area, Abkhazia, as independent states.

BOLIVIA - UNREST: Bolivian President Evo Morales has declared a state of emergency in the northeastern province of Pando, one of several hit by violent protests against Mr. Morales' proposed reforms.Bolivia's defense minister announced the imposition of martial law on Friday. He said public meetings of more than three people will be banned and anyone carrying weapons will be arrested.Troops have taken control of the airport in the provincial capital, Cobija and have fired shots to disperse protesters.Meanwhile, the governor of Tarija province has announced plans to hold talks with members of Mr. Morales' government in La Paz.

LA TRAIN WRECK: Officials in (the U.S. city of) Los Angeles, California say at least 12 people were killed after a commuter train collided with a freight train.Officials say as many as 135 people were injured in Friday's crash in the town of Chatsworth, about 50 kilometers northwest of Los Angeles.Rescue workers worked through Friday night to free people trapped inside the wreckage. Firefighters say they have extinguished a fire in the wreckage and have contained an oil spill.A Los Angeles television station (KTLA) has broadcast an appeal for blood donors from one of the hospitals (Simi Valley) that is treating the injured.

IRAQ: Iraqi authorities say two bomb attacks today killed 10 members of security forces.They say a roadside bomb killed six Kurdish troops northeast of Baghdad. The peshmerga forces were patrolling a town (Khanaqin) near the Iranian border.Also today, a bomb near a checkpoint in eastern Baghdad killed three policemen and a member of a local group fighting al-Qaida.And the U.S. military said today al-Qaida was behind Friday's suicide car bombing that killed at least 31 people and wounded 40 others. A spokesman vowed the attack in Dujail will not hinder progress in the Shi'ite town north of Baghdad.

CHINESE - BABY FORMULA: Chinese health officials say at least 432 babies have developed kidney stones blamed on contaminated milk powder.A senior Health Ministry official told reporters today that authorities have ordered the Sanlu Group, which produced the contaminated milk powder, to stop production.Investigators say dairy farmers may have added a dangerous chemical to milk that has been linked to one infant death and the other illnesses.China's official Xinhua news agency said Friday that investigators suspect that farmers added the chemical to conceal that water had been added to the milk.

BURMA: Burma's military government has blamed unnamed insurgents for bomb attacks that killed two people and wounded 10 this week.The state-run Kyemon newspaper said today that a man and a woman were killed Thursday when a bomb exploded in a video store in Kyaukkyi Township of Bago Division, about 120 miles north of the main city of Rangoon. Nine others were wounded in the attack.The paper said a villager in the same township was wounded by a bomb that exploded in a bamboo grove.The report said officials had accused insurgents of planning the attacks, but gave no further details.

MEXICO - EXECUTIONS: Mexican police say they have discovered the bodies of 24 men who were bound and shot execution-style.Police recovered the bodies late Friday in a national park near the capital, Mexico City. They said they still have not identified any of the men, although an investigation is underway.The Mexican News Agency (Notimex) reports the men showed signs of severe torture. It says the victims were likely executed in different locations and then dumped in the park. The agency also says 15 of the corpses were decapitated.Gang violence and organized crime are relatively common throughout Mexico, especially near the capital.

US POLITICS: U.S. presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama each launched new attacks Friday in a political contest that has become more contentious as national polls show a shift in favor of McCain.The McCain campaign aired a new advertisement Friday accusing Obama of being disrespectful of McCain's running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. The Obama campaign aired a new tv commercial that portrayed McCain as a person out of touch with middle-class Americans who does not know how to use a computer.Senator McCain appeared Fridayon a popular television show geared toward women ("The View").

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