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Palestinians: Israeli Air Strikes Kill 140 in Gaza


ISRAEL - PALESTINIANS: Palestinian medical officials say Israeli airstrikes on Hamas compounds in the Gaza Strip have killed at least 140 people. Officials say the assault wounded more than 100 other people today. They say Gaza police chief Tawfik Jabber was among those killed. The Israeli military confirmed the strikes on Hamas targets across Gaza, and warned the operation could be expanded. The Palestinian militant group vowed to avenge the attacks and said it fired rockets into Israel after the airstrikes. Tensions between Israel and Hamas have escalated since a six-month cease-fire expired last week.

PAKISTAN - BHUTTO: More than 150-thousand Pakistanis have gathered in southern Pakistan to mark the first anniversary of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's assassination. The charismatic, Oxford-educated leader was killed one year ago in a suicide gun and bomb attack as she left a campaign rally in the garrison city of Rawalpindi. Supporters gathered today for ceremony Ms. Bhutto's tomb (near Larkana) in southern Sindh province. Ms. Bhutto's husband, President Asif Ali Zardari, said tyrants may have managed to kill her, but they will never be able to kill her goal of democratic reforms in Pakistan.

PAKISTAN - INDIA: Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has reiterated that his country does not want war with neighboring India, as tensions remain high following last month's terror attacks in Mumbai. In a televised address today, Mr. Gilani said Pakistan wants to have friendly relations with India. He said Pakistan would not strike first, but would only react. He spoke one day after U.S. officials urged India and Pakistan to avoid escalating tensions after Pakistan began moving thousands of troops toward its border with India. India blames the Mumbai attacks on Pakistan-based militants.

IRAQ: Iraqi police say a car bomb has killed at least 22 people in Baghdad. They say the explosion at a bus station in a mostly Shi'ite district wounded 54 others. On Friday, police in the western province of al-Anbar imposed a curfew and went door to door searching for escaped local al-Qaida leaders. The three militants broke out of the al-Fursan police station in the city of Ramadi earlier in the day, during a shootout that killed 13 people. Anbar's police chief says the clashes began when a prisoner told a guard he was ill and asked to be escorted to a bathroom. The inmate overpowered the guard, stole his weapon and killed him.

GUINEA - COUP: Soldiers in Guinea have fired shots into the air to enforce a nighttime curfew, following the funeral of longtime president Lansana Conte. Soldiers patrolled the streets in the capital, Conakry, making sure people stayed at home. The soldiers are loyal to Army Captain Moussa Camara who seized power in a coup following President Conte's death Monday. Tens of thousands of people gathered in Conakry Friday to pay their last respects to Mr. Conte.

SOUTH KOREA - ECONOMY: South Korea's president said Saturday that his country's economy could shrink during the first half of 2009 for the first time since the Asian financial crisis of 1997. President Lee Myung-bak said that while South Korea's economy may see positive economic growth for 2009 as a whole, it could contract during the first two quarters of the year. He cited the global economic slowdown and South Korea's dependence on external markets.

CHINA ACCIDENTS: Chinese state media report that two separate accidents Saturday killed at least 32 people. The official Xinhua news agency said at least 17 people were killed and one was seriously injured when an elevator suddenly plummeted to the ground at a construction site in Changsha, the capital of central Hunan province. The news agency said the accident took place at the site of a real estate project called "Shanghai City," which is being developed by the Hunan-based Dongfanghong construction group.

BANGLADESH - POLITICS: Bangladesh's two main political leaders are holding rallies in the final day of campaigning before Monday's parliamentary elections. The vote is meant to restore democracy after two years of a military-backed government. Awami League leader Sheikh Hasina is in Dhaka today and her rival Khaleda Zia of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party is campaigning in the city of Chittagong. Both women are seen as front-runners in the vote. An estimated 600-thousand law enforcement officers and soldiers are being deployed to keep the peace, after the government lifted a state of emergency that was in effect for nearly two years.

GHANA - ELECTION: Presidential candidates in Ghana have concluded their campaigns ahead of Sunday's run-off election. Ruling-party candidate Nana Akufo-Addo and opposition candidate John Atta-Mills both held final rallies Friday to make their case to voters. The vote is expected to be close. In the first round of voting earlier this month, Akufo-Addo received over 49 percent of the vote, while Atta-Mills got nearly 48 percent. Akufo-Addo is promising to continue the cautious, economic growth policies of President John Kufuor, who is stepping down after serving two terms in office. (News Updates)

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