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Jamaican Gunman Holds Plane Crew Hostage


JAMAICA HOSTAGES: Jamaican officials say a lone gunman is holding five crew members of a CanJet airliner hostage at Montego Bay's airport.
Jamaica's Prime Minister Bruce Golding and National Security Minister Dwight Nelson are at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay to oversee the standoff with a man officials describe as "mentally challenged".
About 180 passengers were on board the plane when the gunman forces his way through security and boarded the aircraft, but they were eventually released unharmed.
Jamaican Information Minister Daryl Vaz says the gunman is about 20 years old and is demanding to go to Cuba.


SRI LANKA: Sri Lanka says it is giving Tamil Tiger rebels 24 hours to surrender, after troops rescued thousands of civilians from the small sliver of northern territory where rebels are making a last stand.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse said Monday that about 35,000 non-combatants had fled the war zone and crossed into military-controlled territory.
An army spokesman (Udaya Nanayakkara) says soldiers advanced into the area, captured an earth fortification made by the rebels, and recovered the civilians.


UN RACISM CONFERENCE: A United Nations conference on racism shunned by the United States and many of its allies opened Monday in Geneva amid fears that Iran's president will use the venue to launch a verbal onslaught on Israel.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his disappointment that the U.S. and its major allies are boycotting the gathering.
Critics say planners undermined the conference by scheduling an opening day address by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called for Israel to be "wiped off the map."


OBAMA-AMERICAS SUMMIT: U.S. President Barack Obama says he sees positive signs in the nature of the U.S. relationship with Cuba and Venezuela.
Mr. Obama said at the end of the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago Sunday that there is an opportunity for frank dialogue on a range of issues, including democracy and human rights. But, he added that "the test for all of us is not simply words but also deeds."
Mr. Obama has eased some travel and economic restrictions on Cuba, and he says the 47-year-old embargo on the island has not worked.

NOKOR NUCLEAR: The head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog said Monday that only dialogue can solve the nuclear stand-off with North Korea.
Speaking in Beijing, Mohamed ElBaradei, chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said he hoped six-party talks will resume and the IAEA will be allowed back into North Korea.
When asked how soon North Korea could restart its nuclear facility, ElBaradei said it could be a question of months.


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