PAKISTAN - VIOLENCE: Pakistani officials say a suicide bomber has turned a crowded mosque into a heap of rubble, killing at least 48 people. Pakistanis are pulling bodies out of what is left of the mosque in the town of Jamrud, near the Afghan border. Pakistani officials say the attack came while the mosque was filled with people for Friday prayers. Officials say dozens of people have been injured. The bombing is the latest violence to strike Pakistan's northwestern Khyber region, where al Qaida and Taliban militants are active.
US - AFGHANISTAN: U.S. officials say President Barack Obama will send even more troops to
Afghanistan and increase aid and diplomatic pressure in Pakistan as
part of a new strategy to destroy al-Qaida and its allies.
An administration official said a key goal of the strategy is to
eliminate al-Qaida safe havens in Pakistan and prevent the terror
group's leadership from moving back to Afghanistan.
The official said Mr. Obama will announce on Friday he is sending 4,000
additional troops to train Afghan forces, in addition to the 17,000
troop increase already announced.
NOKOR - NUCLEAR: Japan says it has authorized its military to shoot down dangerous
debris or intercept a rocket North Korea will soon launch into space if
it looks like it will fall on Japanese territory.
Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada announced the order Friday after a
meeting of Japan's Security Council in Tokyo.
Officials say Japan is expected to move several (PAC-3) land-to-air
missiles to its northern coast, as well as deploy two (SM-3) sea-to-air
missiles to nearby waters later Friday.
North Korea says it plans to launch a communications satellite between
April 4th and April 8th.
PHILIPPINES - KIDNAPPING: The Philippine government says it is ready to withdraw some of its
security forces deployed near a hideout of Islamist extremists who are
holding three kidnapped Red Cross workers hostage.
The (Abu Sayyaf) rebels have threatened to behead one of
their hostages if security forces do not withdraw from the southern
Philippine island of Jolo by the end of this month.
Philippine Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno says the government is
considering pulling back police and civilian defense forces from the
area, in an effort to save the lives of the hostages.
BURMA - DEMOCRACY: The head of Burma's ruling military junta has issued a warning for political parties running in next year's national elections.
Senior General Than Shwe told the parties Friday to avoid personal
attacks and smear campaigns against each other, and "refrain from
inciting unrest." He also said democracy in Burma is in a "fledgling
stage" which requires "patient care and attention."
The scheduled elections are part of the junta's so-called "roadmap to
democracy," which critics say is a sham process that only serves to
entrench the military's grip on power.
CHINA - DISEASE: China's Health Ministry spokesman says the highly contagious hand, foot
and mouth disease has already killed 18 children in China this year and
infected nearly 42,000 others.
Speaking with reporters Friday, Deng Haihua said the situation is
serious and that a peak period for the disease would come between May
Deng held the press conference to address widespread concerns about the disease's spread.
Deng says 94 percent of those suffering from the disease are under the
age of five and that one-fifth of the cases are in the eastern province
of Shandong and in Henan province, located in central China.
INDONESIA - FLOODS: Officials in Indonesia say 50 people have been killed after a dam outside the capital of Jakarta burst and flooded a residential neighborhood. The dam, which held back the waters of Lake Situ Gintung from a section of the Tangerang District, broke early Friday after several hours of heavy rain. The head of the Health Ministry's crisis center says hundreds of homes are underwater. Television footage showed residents frantically trying to evacuate from the neighborhood while wading through water that had reached up to their chests.
US - FLOODS: Authorities in (the midwestern U.S. city/state of) Fargo, North
Dakota have evacuated residents from a neighborhood after a significant
leak was found in a dike under pressure from rising floodwaters.
A mandatory evacuation order was issued early Friday morning for 150
homes south of downtown Fargo. Officials said there was no immediate
danger of the dike collapsing, but issued the order as a precautionary
Emergency workers, National Guard troops and volunteers have been
working feverishly to construct makeshift dikes in a last ditch attempt
to hold the rising waters of the Red River at bay.
Listen to our World News for details.