AFGHANISTAN: The U.S. military says an American soldier and 10 civilians have been
killed in a suicide attack on a coalition convoy in eastern
Afghanistan, near the Pakistani border.
Afghan authorities say today's attack near
the city of Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province, also wounded
nearly 70 people. The U.S. military says 58 people were wounded in the
Local sources say the bomber exploded a vehicle near the convoy as it traveled past a crowded market in the Batikot district.
No one has claimed responsibility, but many attacks against Afghan and
foreign forces in the region are the work of Taliban militants.
PAKISTAN - VIOLENCE: Pakistani police say gunmen have kidnapped an Iranian diplomat and
killed his guard in a volatile area in northwestern Pakistan.
Police officials say the attack happened today in the city
of Peshawar, where a U.S. aid worker and his driver were shot dead
Wednesday. Police and colleagues identified the U.S. aid worker as
who worked for a U.S.-funded project to develop the tribal region along
the Afghan border.
Also Wednesday, a suicide bomber killed at least three security
officers when he rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into the gate of a
school (in Shabqadar) about 35 kilometers north of Peshawar.
WORLD ECONOMY: Asian markets are sharply lower today, in the wake of
Wednesday's major selloff on Wall Street and a decision to change the
focus of the 700-billion dollar financial rescue plan.
Both Japan's Nikkei and Hong Kong's Hang Seng indexes both lost more
than five percent by the closing bell, while Australia's index lost
nearly six percent. Markets in Seoul and Wellington also sustained
Meanwhile, oil prices have fallen to 55 dollars a barrel in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange in Singapore.
Investors are reacting to more bad news involving the U.S. economy.
NOKOR - NUCLEAR: South Korea's foreign minister says the North maybe trying to extract
more concessions from the nations involved in negotiations over the
regime's nuclear program.
Yu Myung-hwan told reporters in Seoul today that Pyongyang
usually creates a crisis over a certain issue, and uses it to receive
more aid before resolving the matter.
North Korea on Wednesday said it will not allow international
inspectors to take samples from its nuclear facilities. The regime says
it had only agreed to nuclear sit visits by experts, and that anything
more stringent would violate the country's sovereignty.
TAIWAN - GRAFT: The lawyer for ex-Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian says his client has
begun a hunger strike to protest his arrest on several counts of
Mr. Chen was detained Wednesday over allegations of graft, bribery,
illegal possession of state assets, and other offenses that he says are
politically motivated. He was jailed after several hours of
Attorney Cheng Wen-long says the former president is staging his hunger
strike to call attention to what he says is the "death" of justice in
Taiwan, and the regression of democracy on the self-ruled island.
BURMA - DISSIDENT: The United States has joined human rights advocates in condemning long
prison terms the Burmese military government has handed at least 40
In Washington Wednesday, a U.S. State Department spokesman called
the dissidents "brave democracy activists." He said their only crime
was to challenge what he called the Burmese government's "illegitimate"
The spokesman called on Burma's military leaders to begin a genuine
dialogue with political opponents and ethnic minority representatives.
CAMBODIA - THAILAND: Cambodia and Thailand have pledged to start marking out a disputed
border near the ruins of an ancient temple where troops from both sides
have faced off since July.
After three days of negotiations in the Cambodian town of Siem Reap,
Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong and Thai Foreign Minister
Sompong Amornviwat announced Wednesday the
re-drawing of the border will start next month. The border skirts the
900-year-old Preah Vihear temple, long the center of the dispute.
Last month, an intense round of fighting erupted between Cambodian and
Thai troops around the temple.
OBAMA - SUMMIT: U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has named a bipartisan duo of
Washington veterans to meet with foreign delegations at a global
financial summit beginning Saturday in the U.S. capital.
Officials say former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, a Democrat,
and former Republican Congressman Jim Leach will represent Mr. Obama at
the gathering of delegations from 20 countries.
President-elect Obama is not attending the summit and will not meet
with foreign dignitaries as he has not yet been inaugurated. His aides
have said that there is one president at a time in the United States.
UN-INTERFAITH CONFERENCE: U.S. President George Bush today will address world leaders
gathered at United Nations headquarters in New York for an interfaith
Mr. Bush is also scheduled to meet with Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah,
who addressed the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday.
King Abdullah called for a global effort to fight terrorism and promote
peace and harmony. He said terrorism and crime stem from a lack of
Israeli President Shimon Peres also addressed the forum Wednesday and
took the rare opportunity to address King Abdullah directly.
US - EARTHQUAKE DRILL: California today will stage what is believed to be the biggest earthquake drill in U.S. history.
About five million people are expected to take part in an exercise
simulating a seven-point-eight magnitude quake along the San Andreas
Fault in southern
When the mock quake strikes, millions of participants are expected to drop, run for cover or hold on to something.
The scenario calls for massive destruction that leaves 18-hundred
people dead, more than 50-thousand injured, and 200-billion dollars in
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