NOKOR - NUCLEAR: South Korean and U.S. troops raised their alert on the peninsula
Thursday to the highest level since 2006. The move comes a day after
North Korea renounced a more than five-decades old armistice that ended
the fighting in the Korean War.
Defense officials say the U.S.-South Korea combined forces command has
increased its surveillance of North Korea and raised watch conditions
from stage three to stage two.
A spokesman for the South Korean Defense Ministry says the two
militaries are devoting more personnel to intelligence gathering and
BURMA - SUU KYI: A defense witness in Burma's widely criticized trial of pro-democracy
leader Aung San Suu Kyi will appear in court Thursday to testify
against allegations she violated the terms of her house arrest.
Legal expert Kyi Win, who is also one of Aung San Suu Kyi's lawyers, is
the only defense witness allowed to testify in the trial.
The court has already rejected three other witnesses, who all belong to
Burma's opposition National League for Democracy. The trial could end
as early as this week.
AFGHANISTAN - VIOLENCE: An Afghan official and the U.S. military say joint security forces in
southeastern Afghanistan have attacked a gathering of militants, but
there are conflicting reports about how many people were killed.
A spokesman for the governor of Paktika
province on Thursday said Afghan police and NATO troops launched a
ground operation and air strikes near the Pakistani border overnight, killing 34 Taliban militants.
A U.S military spokesman confirmed the battle but said 29 insurgents
had been killed.
TURKEY - KURDS: Turkey's military says its warplanes have attacked Kurdish rebel
targets in northern Iraq, following a land mine explosion that killed
six Turkish soldiers and wounded eight others.
Security sources said Turkish bombed the targets in Iraq's Avasin-Basyan region Thursday.
Earlier, a military vehicle struck a mine on a road in Turkey's Hakkari province, a mainly Kurdish region near the Iraqi border.
Officials suspect the mine was planted by Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.
PAKISTAN: A senior Pakistani Taliban commander has claimed responsibility for
Wednesday's deadly suicide attack in the eastern city of Lahore.
Hakimullah Mehsud told news agencies by telephone Thursday that the
attack on police and intelligence offices was revenge for the ongoing
military offensive in northwestern Pakistan's Swat Valley.
Mehsud is a deputy to Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud. He
said Taliban militants plan to attack government buildings in other
cities, and warned residents to leave.
US - MIDEAST: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to call for an end to
Israel's settlement activity in the West Bank during Thursday's talks
at the White House with President Barack Obama.
Aides to Mr. Abbas say the Palestinian leader also will urge Mr. Obama
to press Israel to accept the creation of a separate Palestinian state,
alongside Israel. Mr. Abbas has said he will not resume peace talks
with Israel until both conditions are met.
An Israeli government spokesman said Thursday
the country will abide by its commitments to dismantle unauthorized
outposts and not build any new settlements.
HUMAN RIGHTS - ECONOMY: Amnesty International says the human costs of the economic crisis cannot be overlooked.
In its annual report, released Thursday, the human rights group calls
on leaders to uphold human rights standards at home as well as abroad,
saying economic recovery will only be "sustainable" and "equitable" if
it includes a "strong focus on human rights."
The report warned the global economic crisis will be felt most strongly
in the developing world and called on leaders from the G-20 not to use
the economic crisis as an excuse to cut international aid.
RUSSIA - ANIMAL GIRL: Russian authorities in the Siberian city of Chita have taken into
custody a 5-year-old girl they describe as behaving like an animal
after having been raised by dogs and cats.
Police say the girl laps her food from a plate, jumps on people the way a dog would, and communicates by barking.
They say the girl's parents and grandparents, with whom she also lived, never let her outside or have contact with other people.
The only other company she apparently ever had came from dogs and cats who lived in the familys apartment.
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