ລິ້ງ ສຳຫລັບເຂົ້າຫາ

US Senate Approves War Funding


US WAR FUNDING: The U.S. Senate has approved a $91.3 billion war spending bill that will pay for military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, but deny funds to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center. Senators passed the measure late Thursday with a vote of 86 to 3. Part of the money would go to increase troop levels in Afghanistan, a priority of President Barack Obama. But the denial of Guantanamo funds could cause conflict with the president, who has vowed to close the facility by the beginning of next year.

PAKISTAN: The United Nations says it needs an additional $454 million in humanitarian aid for the nearly two million people displaced by Pakistan's military offensive against Taliban militants. An urgent U.N. appeal issued Friday called for "generous support" from the international community to help civilians fleeing the conflict in northwestern Pakistan. In a statement, acting U.N. humanitarian coordinator Martin Mogwanja said "the scale of this displacement is extraordinary in terms of size and speed, and has caused incredible suffering."

SOMALIA: Fierce fighting in Somalia's capital Mogadishu has killed at least seven people as government forces tried to drive Islamist insurgents out of the city. Government forces attacked the hardline Islamist rebels early Friday. A journalist from a local radio station, Radio Shabelle, as well as several civilians were among those killed in the fighting. Media reports indicate government troops recaptured strategic areas of the capital that had been taken by insurgents, but that the insurgents are also pushing back.

BURMA - SUU KYI: Burma's foreign minister claims anti-government forces orchestrated a bizarre visit by an American to the home of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to embarrass the government. The state-run newspaper Friday quotes Minister Nyan Win as saying that in his opinion the incident was made to intensify international and domestic pressure on Burma's military government. The term anti-government forces appears to refer to Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy and pro-democracy groups overseas.

CHINA - SLAVERY: Chinese state media say authorities have arrested 10 suspects and freed 32 mentally handicapped people who were being forced to work in brick kilns in eastern China. The official Xinhua news agency reports that up to 80 policemen raided the two kilns in Anhui province late last month and arrested a kiln boss surnamed Zhang and nine others suspected of holding the workers. Xinhua quotes police as saying the 10 are suspected of beating the workers and treating them like slaves.

INDIA - POLITICS: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is due to be sworn in for a second term Friday, amid a dispute with one of his coalition partners over posts in his new cabinet. The 76-year-old economist will take the oath of office later in the day, with his Congress party having won a surprisingly decisive victory in recent parliamentary elections. Congress lawmakers and their coalition partners formally re-elected him to the post earlier this week.

AUSTRALIA - FLOODS: Authorities in Australia's southeastern New South Wales state began evacuating thousands of people from the town of Lismore Friday as flooding threatens to inundate parts of the town. Local authorities say floodwaters in the town of 27,000 are expected to peak by midday, threatening protective levies. The region has been hit by torrential rain over the past two days from the same weather system that lashed neighboring Queensland state earlier this week.

US - HURRICANE OUTLOOK: U.S. government meteorologists predict between nine and 14 serious Atlantic storms will form this year. According to forecastsissued Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, between four and seven storms are expected to become hurricanes, with one to three likely to be a major hurricane. NOAA says these numbers indicate that the 2009 hurricane season -- which lasts from June first through the end of November -- will be near normal.

CLOSER - CAMBODIA: A Cambodian man who tried to auction off a pair of shoes he claims belonged to former Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot has attracted only one bid -- 790, 000 fake U.S. dollars. The seller, Nhem En, was a photographer at the Khmer Rouge prison outside Phnom Penh where thousands of people died under Pol Pot's communist regime, which ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. The Phnom Penh Post reports that the purported "bidder," Pok Leak Reasey, lost eight family members in the notorious Tuol Sleng prison.

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