NOKOR - NUCLEAR: United Nations nuclear inspectors left North Korea on Thursday after Pyongyang ordered them out of the country and announced plans to restart production of weapons-grade plutonium. The team from the International Atomic Energy Agency arrived in Beijing Thursday on a flight from Pyongyang, but declined to speak with reporters. The IAEA says its four inspectors departed North Korea after removing seals and surveillance cameras at the country's Yongbyon nuclear facility. The U.S. State Department says four American experts who were also monitoring the Yongbyon plant were preparing to depart after North Korea ordered them out.
THAILAND - POLITICS: Thailand's cabinet will hold a special meeting on Friday to discuss issues including anti-government protests.
Government spokesmanPanithan Wattanayakorn says the
meeting will take place at an undisclosed location, because of security
concerns. He says Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva will discuss the
recent unrest and the government's borrowing plan, among other issues.
In an interview with Bloomberg Television, Prime Minister Abhisit said
he is seeking an agreement on political reforms. Mr. Abhisit said he
will call for elections when Thailand regains stability and he is sure
there is no threat of violence.
IRAQ VIOLENCE: Iraqi army officials say a suicide bomber has killed 15 people and wounded at least 40 others at a military base west of Baghdad. Thursday's attack is the second in as many days. On Wednesday, a car bomb blast in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk killed at least 10 security guards and wounded 22 other people.
SOMALIA - PIRATES: The American ship captain held hostage by pirates for days off the
coast of Somalia arrived safely in the Kenyan port of Mombassa
Richard Phillips was aboard the USS Bainbridge, the ship that rescued
him on Sunday when Navy sharpshooters shot three of his pirate captors.
He just missed reuniting with his crew, who arrived back home in the
U.S. hours earlier. The USS Bainbridge diverted to respond to a
distress signal from the U.S. cargo ship Liberty Sun, the second
American ship attacked by Somali pirates in a week.
INDIA - LECTIONS: Indian voters have cast ballots in the first day of voting in the country's general elections, as Maoist rebels launched deadly attacks in some polling areas. Polls opened Thursday for the first of five phases of voting in the world's largest parliamentary election. Maoist insurgents, known as Naxalites, have disrupted voting in some districts with attacks on security forces and poll workers that have left at least 14 people dead. Security has been a key concern for election officials. More than two million soldiers are being deployed to monitor the four-week vote.
OBAMA - LATAM: U.S. President Barack Obama travels to Mexico Thursday for talks likely
to be dominated by border security and Mexico's growing drug war.
Mr. Obama will meet with President Felipe Calderon during his brief
trip to Mexico before he travels to Trinidad and Tobago for a summit of
The White House says President Obama is concerned about increased
violence in Mexico and its impact on both countries. On Wednesday, the
United States placed three Mexican drug cartels on a U.S. list of
suspected international drug kingpins.
RUSSIA - CHECHNYA: Russia's decade-long counter-terrorism operation in the southern republic of Chechnya has ended.
A spokesman for Russia's anti-terror committee said the cancellation
order took effect on Thursday. He said the decision aims to create
conditions to restore and develop Chechnya's economic and social
Russian President Dmitri Medvedev said last month that improved
security in Chechnya could make it possible to lift the anti-terrorism
Pro-Kremlin Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, a former separatist, has
managed to subdue large-scale resistance in the republic, though minor
AUSTRALIA IMMIGRATION: Australian authorities say three people have been killed and two are
missing after an explosion struck a refugee boat as it was being
escorted by Australia's navy off the country's coast.
Australian police believe the explosion occurred in the boat's engine
room. Officials say refugees on board the boat may have deliberately
doused it with gasoline and ignited a fire that triggered the explosion.
Australia's navy intercepted the boatload of suspected asylum seekers
on Wednesday, and were towing them to an immigration detention center
on Christmas Island when the explosion occurred.
CLEOPATRA'S TOMB: Archaeologist searching for the tombs of legendary lovers Cleopatra and
Mark Antony may be closer to locating the burial site of the couple,
who committed suicide more than 2,000 years ago.
Egypt's Council of Antiquities said Wednesday a team of archaeologists
will soon begin excavating three possible sites at the (Tasposiris
Magna) temple near the city of Alexandria, identified by radar last
The love story of the Egyptian queen and the Roman general was
immortalized by William Shakespeare, and later in the 1963
Oscar-winning movie "Cleopatra, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard
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