ISRAEL - PALESTINIANS: Israeli officials say they are not interested in a truce with the
Palestinian militant group Hamas, as airstrikes against Hamas targets
in the Gaza Strip continue into a fourth day.
Authorities in the Gaza Strip say ten people were killed in today's Israeliairstrikes,
including two young sisters. The airstrikes destroyed five Hamas
government buildings, as well as a building belonging to the Islamic
University. A number of security outposts were also flattened in the
Palestinian officials say Israeli airstrikes since Saturday have killed
at least 350 people, mostly Hamas militants. A United Nations aid agency (UNRWA) in Gaza says 57 civilians are among the dead. The offensive began in reaction to Hamas resuming rocket attacks after
a six-month truce expired last week.
BANGLADESH - ELECTION: Election officials in Bangladesh have confirmed that the political
alliance of ex-Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has won a commanding
majority of seats in the country's parliamentary elections.
The officials say Ms. Hasina's Awami League and its allies have won at
least three-quarters of the 300 seats in parliament. The coalition of
her longtime bitter rival, Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party,
has won around 30 seats.
But some of Ms. Hasina's opponents have already begun complaining of
polling irregularities. The BNP party reportedly said it plans to file
a formal complaint.
THAILAND POL: Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva told members of parliament today that his government would workto restore the economy and heal social and political wounds. Mr. Abhisit was forced to relocate his first policy speech to the foreign ministry after thousands of supporters of ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra surrounded the parliament building for a second day. Hundreds of demonstrators moved to the ministry after news spread that the venue for the speech had been changed. They dispersed after the 50-minute televised address was completed.
TAIWAN - CORRUPTION: A court in Taiwan has reversed its previous decision to release former
President Chen Shui-bian pending his trial on corruption charges.
The Taipei District Court early Tuesday ordered Mr. Chen to be taken
back into custody at the conclusion of a hearing that began Monday.
Prosecutors argued that the former president should be held ahead of
the trial, because he may try to flee the island or use his influence
to sway witnesses' testimony.
Mr. Chen defended his innocence during the session.
IRAQ - US SHOE THROWER: A spokesman for an Iraqi court says the trial of a journalist who threw
his shoes at U.S. President George Bush has been postponed.
Muntazer al-Zaidi was scheduled to go on trial Wednesday for the
December 14th incident in Baghdad. He has been charged with assaulting
a foreign leader, and faces up to 15 years in jail if convicted.
The Iraqi television journalist threw his shoes at Mr. Bush as the
outgoing U.S. president stood next to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri
al-Maliki at a news conference. Mr. Bush ducked his head and narrowly
missed being hit.
PAKISTAN - AFGHANISTAN: Pakistan has closed the main supply route in the Khyber Pass for NATO
forces operating in Afghanistan, as Pakistan launched an offensive
against militants in the region.
Tariq Hayat, Pakistan's top administrator for the tribal Khyber region, told reporters today that
helicopter gunships, tanks and artillery units have deployed in the
area near the Afghan border. Hayat says supplies to NATO forces through
the pass will be "suspended" until the operation is complete.
Militants have carried out a series of attacks on NATO and U.S.
military convoys along the vital supply route in recent weeks.
GUINEA POL: The junta that seized power in Guinea's coup last week has named a civilian as prime minister.
The leaders of the coup announced today on state radio that Kabine Komara is the new prime minister.
Mr. Komara is Guinean, but lives in Cairo, where he is a top official at the African Export-Import Bank.
The coup followed the December 22nd death of Guinea's longtime dictator Lansana Conte.
A group of military leaders seized power just hours after Mr. Conte's
death was announced. The group's leader, Captain Moussa Camara,
declared himself president and has promised elections by the end of
MEXICO - HEZBOLLAH: Mexican officials say a man who helped to smuggle some 200 people into the United States from Mexico has received a 60-year prison sentence. Authorities say some of the people Salim Boughader Mucharrafille helped to illegally enter the U.S. were supporters of the Lebanese-based militant group, Hezbollah. The United States considers Hezbollah a terrorist organization. Mexican officials say Boughader, a Mexican of Lebanese descent, helped people sneak into the U.S. from the Mexican border town of Tijuana.
SCIENCE - CHINA DINOSAURS: Scientists in eastern China say they have discovered the world's largest group of dinosaur bones in the province of Shandong. The official Xinhua news agency said today, that more than 76 hundred fossils have been found so far in Zhuchen City, and the number is climbing. The paleontologist in charge of the project (Zhao Xijin) told Xinhua that the discovery could provide clues on how the animals became extinct towards the end of the Cretaceous period 65 million years ago. Xinhua said mining has been suspended because of the winter weather, but will resume in the spring.
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