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Gunmen Open Fire on Sri Lankan Athletes in Pakistan


PAKISTAN - SRI LANKA: Pakistani officials say unknown gunmen have fired on a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team, killing five police officers and wounding several players. Lahore's police chief said at least 12 gunmen attacked the convoy near the city's Gaddafi stadium Tuesday morning with rockets, hand grenades and automatic weapons. He called it a terrorist attack, and said a search is under way for the gunmen. Pakistan TV showed footage of gunmen running through the streets and firing on vehicles. The Pakistani driver of the team bus said the gunmen first fired on the three lead police cars before targeting the bus.

US - MIDEAST: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shared what she called her country's "unrelenting commitment" to Israel's security, during her first visit to Israel as the top U.S. diplomat. Clinton met with Israeli President Shimon Peres Tuesday. She said rocket fire from Gaza into Israel must stop, adding that no nation could "stand idly by while its territory and people are subjected to rocket attacks." She is also scheduled to meet with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Defense Minister Ehud Barack, and right-wing Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

US - RUSSIA MISSILE: Senior officials in the Obama administration say President Barack Obama has offered Russia a deal involving a controversial plan by the U.S. to deploy a missile defense system. The officials say Mr. Obama made the offer in a letter delivered early last month to his Russian counterpart, Dmitri Medvedev. In the letter, the U.S. president offers to reconsider plans to deploy a missile defense system in Eastern Europe, in exchange for Moscow's help to stop Iran from developing long-range weapons. Russia has developed economic and military ties with Tehran, and has resisted the hardline U.S. stance against Iran.

NOKOR - NUCLEAR: The new U.S. envoy to North Korea arrived in China Tuesday at the start of his first official Asian tour. The Chinese capital is the first stop for Stephen Bosworth, who will also visit Japan and South Korea. While in Asia, the new US envoy will hold talks with officials about North Korea's nuclear program and its plans to conduct a missile test. Pyongyang says it is preparing to launch what it called a "communications satellite." The United States and its allies in Asia believe the satellite may be launched with a missile possibly capable of reaching the United States.

SOKOR - SOMALIA: South Korea announced Tuesday that it will deploy a warship to waters off Somalia to protect Korean ships from pirates. The announcement came a day after parliament approved the first-ever overseas naval combat deployment. The navy said in a statement that the "Cheonghae" unit, named after an ancient naval base to combat pirates, consists of the 4,500 ton destroyer "Munmu the Great" and about 300 personnel. Somali pirates have taken over a number of vessels, large and small, off the east African coast, sometimes getting millions of dollars in ransom.

CHINA - LAWSUITS: China says the number of labor-related lawsuits nearly doubled last year as layoffs spiked because of the global economic crisis. Shen Deyong, vice president of the Supreme People's Court told reporters that the number of labor-related lawsuits filed in 2008 jumped 95 percent from 2007. Shen said many of the conflicts were caused by employers cutting the labor force and salaries to reduce costs. He said a new labor contract law that came into effect at the start of last year also contributed to the rise in cases. Unemployment is a major concern for China's communist leadership because of fears it could trigger social unrest.

INDONESIA - BIRD FLU: Indonesian health officials say four people have died of bird flu in recent weeks, bringing the country's death toll from the disease to 119. Bayu Krisnamurthi, the head of Indonesia's bird flu commission says it is believed that all four were infected by sick chickens. The World Health Organization says Indonesia has had (115) nearly half of the world's (256) confirmed human deaths from bird flu since the virus began infecting poultry stocks in 2003.

CUBA - GOVERNMENT: Cuban President Raul Castro has removed 10 government officials in the first personnel shakeup since taking over from his ailing older brother, Fidel Castro, last year. Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque and the Cabinet chief, Carlos Lage, were the best-known officials to lose their jobs in the government reshuffle announced Monday. The two have stood out because they are younger than many others in Raul Castro's ruling circle. Perez Roque served as foreign minister for nearly a decade and was previously the personal secretary to Fidel Castro.

BRITAIN - US: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown meets at the White House Tuesday with U.S. President Barack Obama for talks on fighting the world economic crisis. Mr. Brown has said he hopes to gain new momentum for what he calls the "special relationship" between Britain and the United States. In his talks with President Obama on Tuesday, and in an address to the U.S. Congress on Wednesday, Mr. Brown is expected to hark back to the Depression-era presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and unveil a 21st-century "new deal" (a reference to Mr. Roosevelt's economic policies) to rescue the world economy.

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