ລິ້ງ ສຳຫລັບເຂົ້າຫາ

US Soldier, 10 Civilians Killed in Attack in Afghanistan

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 blast. 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 Stephen Vance, 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 significant losses. 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 official corruption. 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 questioning. 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 dissidents. 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" rule. 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 conference. 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 tolerance. 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 California. 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 damage.

Listen to our World News for details.