PAKISTAN: Pakistani authorities have temporarily lifted a curfew in the war-torn
Swat valley to allow thousands of people to escape the fighting there.
The military lifted the curfew in Swat's main town, Mingora, and nearby
districts for eight hours Friday.
Hundreds of people, many of them on foot, were leaving area for refugee
camps set up to the south.
Officials say more than 834,000 people have fled their homes in the
last few weeks amid intense fighting, in addition to another half a
million who had fled earlier unrest. The army Friday said it had killed
55 Taliban militants in Swat in the previous 24 hours.
SRI LANKA: Sri Lanka's government says it hopes to capture all remaining territory held by the Tamil Tiger rebels within two days.
A military spokesman Friday said troops were advancing along the coast,
despite international calls for a cease-fire to let thousands of
The government has dismissed international pressure to stop its
offensive. Both sides in the conflict have been heavily criticized for
failing to protect the thousands of civilians trapped alongside the
rebel forces in a shrinking patch of land in the north.
IRAN - US - JOURNALIST: The American journalist recently freed from an Iranian prison has left
Roxana Saberi arrived in Austria with her parents and a friend early
Friday aboard a flight from Tehran's Imam Khomeini airport.
She told reporters at the airport in Vienna that she plans to spend
several days in Austria. Her lawyer in Tehran
told the Reuters news agency that she intends to return to the United
States from Europe.
The 32-year-old journalist, a dual American-Iranian citizen, was
arrested in January while buying a bottle of wine, which is illegal in
Iran. She was convicted last month of espionage.
KOREAS TENSIONS: North Korea has declared all contracts at a South Korean-funded joint
industrial estate "null and void" following a dispute over salaries for
the North's workers at the site.
An announcement Friday carried by state-media said the North would draw
up new regulations for the Kaesong industrial complex on its own.
Pyongyang urged South Korean firms on the estate to either accept its
terms or leave.
The South Korean government immediately expressed its regrets and said
it would not accept the North's cancellation of the contracts.
BURMA - US SUU KYI: Aung San Suu Kyi's lawyer insists she is not guilty of violating her house arrest as authorities in military-ruled Burma prepare to put her on trial next Monday. The 63-year-old pro-democracy icon has been charged in connection with a bizarre incident in which a U.S. national swam to her lakeside residence last week and hid inside. The charges come as her latest term of house arrest is about to expire. Lawyer Kyi Win said Aung San Suu Kyi did not invite the man in to her home and that she is not guilty because the man, John William Yettaw, a U.S. national, was an intruder.
SWINE FLU: Malaysia has confirmed its first case of H1N1 swine flu virus, becoming the latest nation to be affected by the outbreak. A statement released Friday by the health ministry says a 21-year-old student was hospitalized Thursday after coming down with fever, sore throat and body aches. He had just returned from the United States the day before. The ministry says the patient is now in stable condition at a hospital in Selangor state. The World Health Organization announced Thursday that nearly 6,500 cases of the H1N1 virus have been reported in 33 countries.
US - MALAYSIA: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the United States wants to expand cooperation with Malaysia. Clinton and her Malaysian counterpart, Foreign Minister Datuk Anifah bin Haji Aman, held talks Thursday in Washington concerning the economy, Burma, and piracy in the Gulf of Aden. Clinton said they also discussed the global economic crisis, and she praised Malaysia's work fighting piracy in the Strait of Malacca between Malaysia and Indonesia.
US - GUANTANAMO: The Obama administration is expected to announce Friday that it will revive the military-run trials of some of the suspected terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. U.S. President Barack Obama suspended the trials shortly after taking office in January pending an official review, but he did not rule out restarting the tribunals. The military tribunal system was created under former President George W. Bush to hear cases against so-called "enemy combatants" captured by the U.S. military since 2001.
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