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Pakistani Militants Torch Western Forces Supply Trucks


PAKISTAN VIOLENCE: Pakistani police say suspected militants have torched at least 96 trucks at a terminal used to supply NATO and U.S.-led forces in neighboring Afghanistan.
Police officials say assailants attacked the terminal near the northwestern city of Peshawar, striking before dawn (today/Sunday) with rockets, guns and hand grenades. The officials said fire engulfed trucks and containers carrying supplies and fuel to foreign forces in Afghanistan.
Similar attacks in recent weeks have raised concerns that Taliban militants are trying to disrupt the Western forces' vital supply line, which runs through the Khyber Pass.

OBAMA TRANSITION: U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has selected retired Army General Eric Shinseki, who warned of the need for more U.S. troops in the invasion of Iraq, to be his secretary of Veterans Affairs.
Mr. Obama named the general Saturday in a television interview, and will formally announce his selection at a news conference in Chicago today (Sunday) (at 1900 utc).
General Shinseki lost his job in the Bush administration because he said more troops were needed for the 2003 invasion of Iraq than then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld wanted to send.
Critics have said the chaotic conditions in Iraq after the invasion were largely caused by the lack of sufficient troops.

MUSLIM-HAJJ: More than two million Muslims from all over the world gathered today (Sunday) on Saudi Arabia's Mount Arafat for the high point of the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
Crowds of white-robed hajjis began arriving just after dawn on the mountain east of the holy city of Mecca. The site is where the Prophet Muhammad gave his last sermon.
Following prayers at Mount Arafat, the pilgrims will cast stones at walls in Mina in a symbolic renunciation of the devil.
The pilgrimage ends Monday with the start of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, or "feast of the sacrifice.

THAILAND-GOVERNMENT: Thailand's opposition Democrat Party says it has enough support in parliament to form a new government.
The party said Saturday that it has received the support of a group of defectors from the ruling coalition that will give it enough seats to control parliament.
It says five parties have agreed to join together and will support Oxford-educated opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva as the new prime minister.
A six-month political crisis has paralyzed Thailand with protesters occupying the grounds of the prime minister's complex in Bangkok and more recently shutting down the capital's main domestic and international airports.


INDIA ATTACKS: Pakistan's senior diplomat in Britain said Saturday he received information that India was planning a military strike against Pakistan, following the Mumbai terror attacks.
High Commissioner Wajid Shamsul Hassan declined to identify his sources, but said he immediately alerted Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.
Tensions between India and Pakistan have soared since the deadly siege that began on November 26th, killing more than 170 people and wounding nearly 300 others.
India blames the Pakistani-based militant group (Lashkar-e-Taiba) for the attacks.

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