AFGHANISTAN: Afghan officials say a NATO airstrike Friday morning hit a fuel truck in northern Afghanistan, killing around 90 people, including civilians. Kunduz provincial officials say a majority of the dead were Taliban militants. NATO officials confirmed they ordered the airstrike to target militants who had hijacked two fuel trucks. They say they are investigating whether the airstrike killed any civilians. Local officials in Kunduz province say Taliban militants had hijacked the trucks and brought them to a village in the Aliabad district, near Afghanistan's northern border with Tajikistan. The officials say militants invited villagers to collect fuel from the trucks when a bomb struck.
NORTH KOREA – NUCLEAR:North Korea says it is in the last stage of enriching uranium which could bring it another step closer to building a nuclear bomb. The official Korean Central News Agency said in a statement that experimental uranium enrichment has successfully entered the completion phase. Enriched uranium is another way tobuild a nuclear bomb. The statement also says the North is prepared for both sanctions and dialogue with countries striving to stop it from getting a nuclear weapon. It warns that it would bolster its nuclear deterrence if the the United Nations Security Council imposes more sanctions before deciding to hold talks. South Korea's Foreign Ministry called Pyongyang's stance "very regrettable," and vowed to take a "stern and consistent response" to the regime's actions.
CHINA – UNREST:Witnesses in the restive Chinese city of Urumqi say about 1,000 Han Chinese confronted police to voice anger at a lack of public security following a bizarre series of syringe stabbings that appeared ethnically motivated. A crowd of Han Chinese gathered a block away from the Xinjiang government's regional headquarters in People's Square, repeatedly scuffling with riot police. Police used tear gas and public appeals before the crowd eventually withdrew. Chinese security forces have been deployed throughout the capital of Urumqi after thousands marched on Thursday to protest the stabbings and the erosion of security in the remote region. Protesters want punishment for those behind the deadly July riots that involved Han Chinese and Muslim Uighurs as well the culprits in a recent series of stabbing attacks.
THAILAND – UNREST: Thai authorities say an upsurge in violence in the country's Muslim-majority southern provinces has killed at least 10 people since Wednesday. Officials say a motorcycle bomb exploded Thursday outside a restaurant in Pattani province, killing a man and wounding more than 20 other people. A second bomb exploded in the area a short time later. Thai authorities say gunmen killed eight other people in a series of shootings Wednesday in the provinces of Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani. Most of the dead were Muslims, including a teacher and his 13-year-old son. Thai security forces also shot dead an insurgent in a gunbattle in Yala. Violence has increased in southern Thailand in recent days, coinciding with the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
THAILAND – BURMA – JAPAN: Thailand's government has agreed to let a stateless boy of Burmese origin travel to Japan for an international origami competition. Twelve-year old Mong Thongdee was born in Thailand to Burmese migrant workers but never obtained a passport because he is not a Thai national. He flew from his home in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai to Bangkok Wednesday to apply for a temporary passport, but the Thai interior ministry initially objected. Mong's case gained national attention and a lawyers' association of Thailand agreed to help him by filing a complaint against the government. Thai ministers met Thursday to discuss the issue, and agreed to give Mong a travel document for the competition.
BURMA – SUU KYI: A Burmese court has agreed to hear an appeal from detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi against her criminal conviction last month for violating her house arrest. Her main lawyer, Kyi Win, says Rangoon's Division Court will hear the appeal on September 18. The Nobel Peace laureate was convicted August 11 of violating state security laws after giving shelter to American man who swam to her lakeside Rangoon home uninvited in May. She was sentenced to 18 months house detention. Kyi Win says the appeal will focus on the fact that her conviction is based on 1974 state constitution that is no longer in effect. The verdict was condemned by the international community. Burma's ruling military junta was accused of using the trial as an excuse to keep her out of next year's elections.
IRAQ – UN: Iraq's prime minister has asked the U.N. Security Council to investigate the bomb attacks that killed at least 100 people in Baghdad last month. A letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon requests the U.N. chief to ask the Security Council to set up an independent, international inquiry commission. Officials say the letter was forwarded Thursday to U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, who is this month's Security Council president. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said in the letter that the scope and nature of the attacks call for an investigation beyond Iraqi jurisdiction. He added that perpetrators should be prosecuted before an international tribunal. Officials say the letter does not accuse any particular country, but Mr. Maliki claimed earlier Thursday that Syria is sheltering armed groups wanted for cross-border attacks.
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