PAKISTAN: Pakistani security forces targeted militant strongholds throughout the
northwest Thursday, killing dozens of Taliban fighters in a 24-hour
The military said it used helicopter gunships in Bannu district, where
security forces began attacking some 600 militants on Wednesday. At
least 34 militants were killed.
Bannu lies near the border of Pakistan's lawless tribal area of South
Waziristan, where troops on Thursday retaliated after a militant attack
on army posts in Splitoi and Jandola. Military officials say at least
20 militants and three soldiers were killed in the fighting.
KOREAS - TENSIONS: North Korea is demanding hundreds of millions of dollars from South
Korean companies operating at a joint industrial complex that has been
pulled into the center of worsening relations between the rivals.
The demands were issued Thursday during talks at the complex in Kaesong, located just over the border with North Korea.
A spokesman for South Korea's Unification Ministry says
the regime wants the salaries of the 40,000 North Koreans working at
the plant raised from $75 to $300 a month.
NOKOR - NUCLEAR: Seven world powers on Wednesday agreed on a draft U.N. Security Council resolution to expand sanctions against North Korea for its recent underground nuclear test and a barrage of missile tests. The draft resolution condemns North Korea's tests as a violation of previous U.N. resolutions and imposes additional sanctions, including cargo inspections, a total arms embargo, and stronger financial sanctions. China reportedly resisted making the cargo provision mandatory.
GUANTANAMO - UIGHURS: Beijing says a group of 17 Chinese Muslims the United States is sending
to the Pacific island of Palau are terrorists and should be handed back
Speaking with reporters Thursday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang
urged Washington to stop handing over "terrorist suspects" to third
countries and return them to China soon.
The United States has already cleared the men of any wrongdoing, but
they remained at the controversial Guantanamo Bay camp in Cuba due to
fears they would be tortured if handed over to Beijing.
CHINA - ECONOMY: China says it exports suffered record losses in May, as the global
economic recession continued to be felt in the world's third-largest
Figures released Thursday by customs bureau show exports plunged 26.4
percent last month from the same period in 2008. China's global trade
surplus stood at $13.4 billion in May, compared to $13.1 billion in
Demand for Chinese exports has plunged in the United States and Europe,
leading to massive layoffs of factory workers in China.
SWINE FLU: Hong Kong authorities have ordered all kindergartens and primary
schools closed for two weeks after a dozen students tested positive for
the H1N1 virus.
Hong Kong's chief executive Donald Tsang told reporters Thursday that
authorities were unable to identify the source of the infection, making
it the first cluster of human swine flu cases without a known link to
someone traveling overseas.
The closure of the schools comes as the World Health Organization is
convening an emergency meeting Thursday to discuss whether it should
declare the first influenza pandemic in more than 40 years.
US - AFGHANISTAN: The U.S. Senate on Wednesday confirmed Lieutenant General Stanley McChrystal to be the next commander of U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan. McChrystal, who was also elevated to the rank of general, has spent most of his career in combat special operations and is considered an expert in the complex warfare of counterinsurgency. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates chose McChrystal to replace General David McKiernan, who was asked to step down to allow a new military leader to implement an updated U.S. strategy for the Afghan war.
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