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 quarantined.