POPE MIDEAST: Pope Benedict is in Jerusalem, as part of the most sensitive leg on his trip to the Holy Land.
The head of the Roman Catholic Church was welcomed by Israeli President
Shimon Peres at the airport in Tel Aviv Monday, before flying to
Jerusalem by helicopter.
His visit comes amid resentment among many Israeli Jews angry over his decision to reinstate a bishop who denied the Holocaust.
In his speech before heading to Jerusalem, Pope Benedict called
anti-Semitism "totally unacceptable," and he pledged to "honor the
memory" of the six million victims of the Holocaust. He plans to visit
the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial while in Jerusalem.
PAKISTAN: Pakistani authorities say a suicide bomber attacked a security
checkpoint in the northwestern part of the country, killing 10 people
and wounding at least seven others. Officials say the attack occurred Monday between the North West
Frontier Province's main city of Peshawar and the town of Darra Adam
Khel. No one has claimed responsibility for the blast, but security forces
have been a frequent target for Islamist militants, operating in the
region bordering Afghanistan.
SRI LANKA: The United Nations has condemned the killing of hundreds of Sri Lanka's
ethnic Tamil civilians, calling the recent violence in the country's
north a "bloodbath."
U.N. spokesman Gordon Weiss told VOA the Sri Lankan government is not
doing enough to avert the casualties, and the Tamil Tiger rebels
continue to use tens of thousands of civilians as a "buffer" between
them and the military.
Sri Lanka's military and Tamil rebels have accused each other of
carrying out an artillery barrage in the northern war zone. Doctors say
the shelling killed 378 civilians and wounded around 1,100 people.
US-AFGHANISTAN: The United States says it will not halt air strikes in Afghanistan as
demanded by President Hamid Karzai, even though they are blamed for the
deaths of hundreds of civilians across the country.
White House National Security Adviser James Jones said Sunday that
further bombing raids are possible. He told U.S. television (ABC)
that U.S. forces fighting Taliban militants cannot operate "with one
hand tied behind their back." But he said the U.S. will "redouble" its
efforts to limit civilian casualties.
SWINE FLU: China's health ministry confirmed Monday that a 30-year-old man is the
mainland's first case of the H1N1 flu, commonly known as swine flu.
Officials say the Chinese national flew to Beijing Saturday via Tokyo
from the United States -- where he is attending college. From Beijing,
he took a flight on to Chengdu. He went to the hospital after landing
in Chengdu and remains in quarantine there.
The state news agency said authorities have located and quarantined
almost all of the airline passengers who traveled with him. Xinhua said
the man's girlfriend, father and a cab driver have also been