TAIWAN - CHINA - STORM: Taiwan says it is sending another 4,000 soldiers to the island's
southern regions to rescue thousands of villagers trapped in the
devastation caused by Typhoon Morakot.
Dozens of helicopters have been deployed to the region to airlift the
survivors, who have been stranded since roads and bridges were
destroyed by floods and mudslides triggered by the typhoon.
The death toll from Morakot is now at least 107 people, after more than
30 bodies were found buried at a hot springs area. Another 61 people
are listed as missing. PHILIPPINES - UNREST:
Philippine military officials say at least 23 soldiers are dead after a major offensive against Islamic militants Wednesday.
Soldiers attacked an Abu Sayyaf stronghold on the southern island of
Basilan. Military officials say at least 20 Abu Sayyaf fighters were
also killed in the raid on the camp, which served as a bomb making
More than 300 Abu Sayyaf members are based in Basilan and the nearby
island of Jolo. The group has been linked to several fatal attacks in
recent years, including the 2004 bombing of a ferry that killed 16
BURMA - SUU KYI: A U.S. senator will meet with Burma's ruling military leaders during a visit to the reclusive military regime later this week.
Jim Webb, a Democrat from the state of Virginia, will arrive in Burma
later this week as part of his two-week, five nation tour of Asia. A
statement from Webb's office says he will be the first U.S. lawmaker to
visit Burma in more than 10 years.
Webb, a Vietnam War veteran, is traveling to the region in his role as
chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's East Asia and
Pacific Affairs subcommittee.
US - AFRICA: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton heads to Liberia Thursday where she will meet with Africa's only female head of state.
Liberia's information minister told VOA President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
will press for more cooperation between the two countries.
Thanks to a historical relationship -- Liberia was founded by freed
American slaves -- Liberia has played a special role in U.S. Africa
This will be the sixth of seven stops on Clinton's 11-day tour of
AFGHANISTAN: Afghan officials say two bomb blasts in southern Afghanistan have
killed at least 14 civilians, including three children, as militant
attacks increase ahead of presidential elections next week.
An official said Thursday the first bomb ripped through a vehicle in
the Gereshk district of Helmand province Wednesday, killing 11 members
of one family. He says only a young girl survived.
Meanwhile, officials said three young boys in neighboring Kandahar
province died after a recently planted roadside bomb exploded while
they were playing.
BRITAIN - LIBYA - LOCKERBIE: British media reports (Sky News and the BBC) say a Libyan
intelligence agent convicted in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing is likely to
be released on compassionate grounds and sent to his home country.
Bomber Abdel Baset Ali al-Megrahi is reported near death in the late
stages of prostate cancer and is currently serving a life sentence for
his role in the mid-air bombing of PanAm Flight 103 over Lockerbie on
December 21, 1988. The bombing killed all 259 people aboard the (London
to New York) flight, as well as 11 people on the ground.
INDIA - WATER: A new study shows that groundwater supplies in northwestern India are
being depleted more quickly than they are being replenished by
The study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, says the problem
is caused by skyrocketing domestic use, excessive irrigation demands,
and development. Experts warn that the situation could lead to severe,
shortages and a reduction of agricultural output for 114 million people
living in the northwestern states of Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana.
US - ECONOMY: A slowly improving U.S. economy is doing little to help Americans in danger of losing their homes.
Data compiled by the real estate information services company
RealtyTrac shows the number of troubled homeowners increased at a
record pace in July, jumping 32 percent compared to the same time last
RealtyTrac says one out of every 355 U.S. households with a home loan
was warned about falling behind on payments or told their home would be
Thursday's report comes one day after the Federal Reserve (U.S. central bank) said the recession is easing.
US - KILLER ASTEROIDS: A new U.S. government report says the U.S. space agency does not have
enough money to find asteroids that could destroy life on Earth.
The National Academy of Sciences said Wednesday that Congress has yet
to give NASA the money it needs to build telescopes to track the
potentially deadly space objects.
Congress passed a law in 2005 ordering NASA to find 90 percent of asteroids bigger than 140 kilometers by 2020.
The academy report says NASA cannot meet this goal under its existing budget.
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