INDONESIA - EARTHQUAKE: Foreign emergency rescue teams are racing to reach earthquake
devastated areas of Indonesia's Sumatra island, as the death toll
continues to rise.
Indonesian officials say the death toll from Wednesday's
7.6-magnitude-quake is at least 770, but is likely to end up being much
higher as thousands are still believed to be buried beneath rubble.
The U.N. humanitarian chief, John Holmes, says there are "many hundreds" of injured and the death toll could top 1,100.
Medical teams, search dogs, backhoes and emergency supplies are already
trickling into Sumatra.
ASIA STORM: Philippine President Gloria Arroyo has placed the entire Philippines
under a "state of calamity," as the country braces for a possible
second major storm in days.
Typhoon Parma is forecast to hit the Philippine's east coast on
Saturday, bringing with it sustained winds of nearly 200
kilometers-per-hour. Mrs. Arroyo has ordered six provincial governments
to evacuate residents from the path of the storm.
She has also declared a nationwide "state of calamity" freeing up funds
to help the government respond to emergencies.
OBAMA - OLYMPICS: U.S. President Barack Obama told the International Olympic Committee
that his adopted hometown of Chicago is "ready and eager" to host the
2016 Summer Olympics.
Mr. Obama made his pitch just hours after arriving in the Danish
capital of Copenhagen, where the IOC is meeting to pick a host city for
the games. The president spoke of his affection for the midwestern U.S.
city, where he first moved 25 years ago to work as a community
He said Chicago embraces its rich ethnic diversity, calling it a place
"where our unity is on colorful display."
BURMA - SUU KYI: Officials in Burma say a court has rejected opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's appeal of her recent criminal conviction.
On Friday, a court in Rangoon upheld the Nobel Laureate's conviction
for violating the terms of her house arrest. She was sentenced to an
extra 18 months in detention in August after a bizarre incident in
which an American man swam uninvited to her home.
During the appeal hearing, Aung San Suu Kyi's lawyers had argued that
the laws she was sentenced under were based on a defunct constitution
and were therefore invalid.
US - VIETNAM: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Vietnam's foreign
minister Thursday to discuss trade, human rights, security and aid for
those affected by Typhoon Ketsana earlier this week.
Clinton and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem spoke to reporters
following their meeting. Khiem said the talks took place in a friendly,
constructive, and candid atmosphere. He said (through an interpreter)
that the nations need to build on growing bilateral ties, expanding
relations in trade, education and technology.
Clinton said she expressed the "deepest sympathy" to Vietnam for the
destruction and loss of life caused by Typhoon Ketsana.
PAKISTAN: Pakistani intelligence officials say a top al-Qaida-linked Uzbek
militant leader is believed to have been killed in a U.S. missile
strike in northwest Pakistan.
Officials said Friday Tahir Yuldashev, a leader of the Islamic Movement
of Uzbekistan, was wounded by a U.S. drone attack in late August in
South Waziristan, along the Afghan border. He is reported to have died
a few days later.
If confirmed, Yuldashev's death would be a major blow to militant
groups and a boost to Pakistan's army which is planning a major
offensive in the region.
INDIA - MAOISTS: Indian police say at least 16 people, including five children, were
killed when suspected Maoist rebels attacked a village in the eastern
state of Bihar.
Officials say the attack took place Friday morning.
They say the attack was part of a land dispute, and the victims were killed after rejecting demands to hand over their land.
Thousands of people have been killed in a Maoist insurgency, ongoing after more than three decades.
The rebels say they are fighting for land and jobs for impoverished farmers and laborers.
ISREAL - PALELSTINIANS: Israel is expected to release 20 female Palestinian prisoners Friday in
exchange for a videotape showing an Israeli soldier captured by
Israel says it will free the women after it receives the video of Gilad
Shalit, who was seized by Gaza militants in a cross-border raid in
2006, and has not been seen since.
Egypt and Germany mediated the agreement, which is seen as a step
toward a possible broader deal to swap hundreds of Palestinian
prisoners for the soldier.
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