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Suicide Bomber Kills 23 in Eastern Afghanistan


AFGHANISTAN-VIOLENCE: A suicide bomber has detonated explosives in a crowd of government officials in eastern Afghanistan, killing at least 23 people, including the country's deputy chief of intelligence. The bombing occurred Wednesday morning at a mosque in the city of Mehtarlam in Laghman province, about 100 kilometers east of Kabul. Authorities suspect intelligence official Abdullah Laghmani was the target of the attack. A Taliban spokesman says the militant group was responsible for the bombing.

NOKOR JOURNALISTS: The two American reporters who were jailed for illegally entering North Korea have spoken out about their ordeal for the first time and said they never intended to cross a frozen river into the communist country. In a lengthy statement that was posted on the Web site of Current TV, Laura Ling and Euna Lee say they hesitantly followed their guide across the waterway, but were firmly back on Chinese soil when North Korean guards grabbed them on March 17.
Lee and Ling say they were violently dragged back across the ice to North Korea and marched to a nearby army base. The two say that while there were no signs marking China's frontier with North Korea, they were aware they were moving toward the border crossing as they moved across the frozen Tumen River. Lee and Ling say that during the 140 days of captivity that followed they were isolated from one another and repeatedly interrogated.

INDONESIA-QUAKE: The death toll from Wednesday's powerful earthquake off the coast of Indonesia has risen to at least 15. The earthquake struck in the waters off Java, about about 200 kilometers south-southeast of the capital of Jakarta. It was at a depth of 49 kilometers. The quake triggered landslides and destroyed dozens of homes. The U.S. Geological Survey initially estimated the quake at a 7.4 magnitude, but has since lowered the estimate to a 7.0.
The Pacific Tsunami Center in Hawaii issued a tsunami warning that has now been lifted. The earthquake caused buildings to shake in Jakarta, sending office workers running into the streets in panic

CAMBODIA-KHMER ROUGE: Cambodia's United Nations-backed war crimes court announced Wednesday that it would allow more investigations to be opened into former Khmer Rouge leaders.
The spokesman for the U.N. tribunal, Lars Olsen says the international prosecutor in the tribunal will be allowed to make suggestions for more judicial investigations. Based on the investigations, the tribunal would then have to decide whether to prosecute any additional suspects, a move that Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has strongly opposed. Mr. Hun Sen has repeatedly said that prosecutions should be confined to the five suspects who have already been charged. He has suggested that opening additional cases could spark a civil war, and that he would end U.N. participation in the trials if the number of suspects was increased.

CHILE-DIRTY WAR: A judge in Chile has ordered the arrest of 129 former security officers for human rights violations during the 17-year military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Judge Victor Montiglio issued arrest warrants Tuesday for the the defendants, who included members of the air force and police services. All were former agents of General Pinochet's DINA intelligence service, which was suspected of covering up the disappearance of political dissidents. The warrants are related to "Operation Condor," and "Operation Colombo," campaigns in the 1970s against leftist opponents of military governments in Chile and other South American nations. The warrants also address the disappearance of several communists from their base on Santiago's Conferencia Street in 1976.

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