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Kurdish Rebels Kill 15 Turkish Soldiers


TURKEY - KURDS: The Turkish military says 15 of its soldiers have been killed in clashes with Kurdish rebels in southeastern Turkey. At least 23 members of the rebel Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) were also killed in the fighting near the Iraqi border. The Turkish military says it was responding to a rebel attack on a military outpost. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he will return early from an official visit in Turkmenistan because of the attack. Turkey has carried out several air strikes and a brief ground offensive against PKK targets in northern Iraq this year.

WORLD ECONOMY: U.S. President George Bush has signed into law a historic 700 billion-dollar plan designed to rescue the troubled financial industry. The law allows the government to buy failing investments from troubled financial companies in an effort to restore lender and investor confidence, and to restart economic growth. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson says he will get right to work hiring experts needed to manage the program. It is likely to take at least a month before Wall Street firms receive any of the money.

US - INDIA NUCLEAR: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is in India for a two-day visit to discuss the civilian nuclear deal the U.S. Congress recently approved. Rice will meet India's foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee today before discussing the U.S.-India nuclear agreement with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Rice said Friday that administrative details must be resolved before she can sign the deal that ends a 34-year ban on civilian nuclear trade with India. India's communist parties plan to protest the deal today. They say their government has surrendered India's sovereignty to U.S. imperialism.

IRAQ: The U.S.-led coalition in Iraq says it has killed the leader of one of al-Qaida in Iraq's Baghdad networks, a man who was wanted for several deadly bombings. A U.S. military statement said Mahir Ahmad Mahmud Hudu' al-Zubaydi and an unidentified female were killed Friday in a raid on a building in Baghdad. Soldiers targeted the building based on intelligence reports, and that they opened fire in self-defense, in response to small arms fire from inside the building. The suspect was believed to be behind multiple car bombings in Baghdad, including two attacks Thursday that killed at least eight people.

OJ SIMPSON TRIAL: A jury in the western U.S. state of Nevada has found former (American) football star O.J. Simpson guilty on all charges against him in a robbery and kidnapping trial. Simpson and a co-defendant were convicted Friday on various charges, including kidnapping and armed robbery, for storming the hotel room of two souvenir-dealers and demanding they return items related to Simpson's football career. Simpson, who is 61 years old, could spend the rest of his life in prison.

PAKISTAN: Pakistani intelligence officials say a suspected U.S. missile strike has killed about 20 people, including foreigners, along the Afghan border. The officials say an unmanned aircraft launched Friday's attack on the home of an Afghan in North Waziristan (in the village of Mohammed Khel). Intelligence officials say in a separate attack in North Waziristan Friday, suspected U.S. fighter jets killed two women and a child. Pakistan's army spokesman denied the incident took place in Pakistan, saying international troops were carrying out an operation in Afghanistan.

NOKOR NUCLEAR: U.S. nuclear envoy Christopher Hill held talks with his Chinese counterpart in Beijing today, after a trip to North Korea failed to persuade Pyongyang to stop restoring its atomic facilities. A U.S. Embassy spokesman said Hill briefed top nuclear negotiator Wu Dawei on the outcome of his discussions with North Korean officials this week. U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Wood said Friday that Hill was not able to convince Pyongyang to halt steps to reverse disablement of its nuclear facility at Yongbyon.

US - TAIWAN - ARMS: The U.S. government has announced new advanced arms sales to Taiwan worth about six-point-five billion dollars. The Defense Department on Friday gave details of the proposed sales to U.S. lawmakers, who have 30 days to block the separate arms deals. The Pentagon's Defense Security and Cooperation Agency said the sales are aimed at improving Taiwan's security and maintaining the military balance in the region. The proposed sales include 330 Patriot missiles worth up to three-point-one billion dollars, and 30 Apache attack helicopters valued at two-point-five billion dollars.

CAMBODIA - THAILAND CLASH: Cambodia's Foreign Ministry has formally protested Thailand's action in a border skirmish that wounded at least one Cambodian and two Thai soldiers. A letter sent today to the Thai ambassador in Phnom Penh blames Thai soldiers for the incident, and says such provocation could lead to full-scale armed hostility. The clash broke out Friday near the centuries-old Preah Vihear temple, which is at the center of recent skirmishes. Officials from both sides say the exchange lasted a few minutes. It is not clear who fired first.

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