ລິ້ງ ສຳຫລັບເຂົ້າຫາ

Israeli Missile Attack Kills Palestinian in Gaza


ISRAEL - PALESTINIANS: An Israeli air strike on the Gaza Strip has killed one Palestinian militant and wounded at least one other, a day after the militant group Hamas officially declared an end to a six-month truce with Israel. An Israeli army spokesman said the airstrike came in response to a rocket attack earlier today by militants in the Gaza Strip. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades - a violent offshoot of moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement - said the dead militant was one of its members. Also today, a boat carrying international activists and medical supplies docked at the Gaza Strip, despite an ongoing Israeli blockade of the port.

IRAQ: Iraq's interior ministry says authorities have released some 23 officials accused of working to rebuild the outlawed Baath party of former leader Saddam Hussein. Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani told reporters on Friday the arrests were motivated by politics, and not security. He denied that the detained security and defense ministry officials were planning a coup. In other news, an Iraqi judge and a lawyer for Muntazer al-Zaidi say the reporter was badly beaten during his arrest. Zaidi has been in Iraqi custody since Sunday, when he threw shoes at visiting U.S. President George Bush during a news conference in Iraq.

US - ECONOMY: U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has told U.S. auto companies they must take "painful" steps to restructure their industry, even as they prepare to receive billions of dollars in government loans. Mr. Obama said Friday that he welcomed the Bush administration's plans to lend 13-point-four billion dollars to Chrysler and General Motors. But he also cautioned the leading auto companies that the American people's patience with bad management practices is "running out." And he said auto workers should not bear the brunt (burden) of the industry's restructuring.

OBAMA - TRANSITION: U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has vowed to put science at the top of his administration's agenda, as he announced key members of his science and technology team. Mr. Obama said in his weekly radio address today that he was appointing John Holdren, Harold Varmus, and Eric Lander to chair the President's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology. He said he was appointing Jane Lubchenco to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The president-elect pointed to key areas where science is important -- climate change, defense, and industry.

CHINA - TAIWAN: China says it is willing to provide economic assistance to Taiwan if the island needs it to get through the global financial downturn. China's official Xinhua news agency quoted Jia Qinglin, a senior Communist party leader, as saying today that if Taiwan asks for help, Beijing will do its utmost to offer assistance. Xinhua said Jia made the comment at the opening of a two-day meeting between the two sides in Shanghai. Jia did not specify what kind of assistance or how much would be offered. The statement was the latest indication of warming relations between the two rivals.

HONG KONG - MACAU: Hong Kong lawmakers say at least 20 pro-democracy activists and legislators were barred from entering Macau today to take part in a protest against a proposed national security bill. The politicians said they were detained by immigration officials before being sent back to Hong Kong. The Hong Kong legislators say they were told they had broken Macau security laws, but that authorities would not be more specific. Among other things, the proposed bill would ban theft of state secrets. Opponents of the bill say the definition of state secrets is too broad.

ZIMBABWE - POLITICS: Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has declared "Zimbabwe is mine," and has vowed never to surrender to calls to step down. Mr. Mugabe told a meeting of his ZANU-PF party central committee that only Zimbabweans can remove him from power, and he said no African nation is brave enough to wrest it from him. The president also said he has invited the main opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, to be sworn in to join a unity government. However, at the same, the president said he is not certain if a unity government can work.

AFGHANISTAN: U.S. defense officials say the United States has authorized the deployment of a combat aviation brigade to Afghanistan next year. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity on Friday, said U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates signed the order Thursday. The brigade is expected to deploy early next year. This means nearly three thousand troops, as well as attack and transport helicopters, are bound for Afghanistan as part of a larger troop build-up.

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